Restoration Volume 43.1 Seeming as Believing: Epistemological Uncertainty and the World of Annus Mirabilis Joshua Brorby Washington University in St. Louis Early in his long poem Annus Mirabilis (1667), before the Great Fire vaporizes a quarter of the metropolis, John Dryden seems to privilege the conjunction “or,” as if contemplating the limits of possibility. Here are distant fires nearly two hundred stanzas before the “prodigious” one that engulfs London: celestial fires, of comets that act as “Tapers” to light the poem’s stage. As the comets rise, Dryden considers their origins in a series of lines that explain them away as if each possibility were equally likely. “Whether they unctuous Exhalations are, / Fir’d by the Sun,” he begins, “or seeming so alone, / Or each some more remote and slippery Star, / Which looses footing when to Mortals shown” (AM 65–68). After the repeated “or,” Dryden suggests that the comets are stars that slip away when viewed, a strangely Einsteinian effect of observation. Do they exist in one state, or does viewing them change the way they give off light in the night sky? And so he continues: “Or one that bright companion of the Sun, / Whose glorious
Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 – University of Tennessee
Published: Jul 19, 2019
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera