Hyun Sohn (PhD) is an Assistant Professor at the College of Paideia, Sungkyul University, Anyang-si, Republic of Korea. She is an active researcher in the field of English Romantic poetry, feminism, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and interdisciplinary studies. She has published papers in international and Korean journals and participated in several conferences. Her upcoming project focuses on gender and the Eastern and Western myths of the sun and moon. E-mail: hyksohn@sungkyul.ac.kr


The Same Moon in Science and Poetry: An Ecofeminist Analysis of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogue and William Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads

Abstract: While revisiting Snow’s discussion on the “two cultures” might appear inconsequential in the current era of posthumanism, which strives for the natural coexistence of humans and machines, the enduring psychological gap between science and literature remains substantial. This study seeks to bridge this divide by examining the shared ecofeminist attributes within the scientific and the literary discourses about the moon. Specifically, the study aims to scrutinize Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632) and Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (1798) through an ecofeminist lens focused on lunar discourse. Despite emerging with a temporal separation of approximately two centuries, Dialogue and Lyrical Ballads stand as pivotal works that contributed, respectively, to the inception of modern science and modern (Romantic) literature. Moreover, they individually epitomize contemporary responses to the issue of the “two cultures” within their distinct cultural contexts: Dialogue addresses the duality of geocentrism and heliocentrism, while Lyrical Ballads pertains to the realms of science and poetry. Hence, these two texts provide a consequential viewpoint for reevaluating the dual-culture predicament of our contemporary era. The author contends that within the two texts both the scientist and the poet exhibit feminist leanings as they unveil their distinct “subjective destitution” linked to the moon. As a result, they embrace an ecological approach that prioritizes the object over the subject of discourse. Ultimately, the scientist and the poet align in purpose, not erasing but accentuating the materiality of the object as fragmented, feminine subjects. The paper will conclude by briefly discussing how this perspective may be applied to the moon poems of Eastern Asian poets, using examples from Sunthorn Phu (Thailand) and Li Bai (China).
Keywords: science and poetry, moon, ecofeminism, Galileo Galilei, William Wordsworth