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Science in Modern PoetryNew Directions$
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John Holmes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318092

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317743

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date: 14 December 2018

William Empson, Ants and Aliens

William Empson, Ants and Aliens

(p.116) Chapter 7 William Empson, Ants and Aliens
Science in Modern Poetry

Katy Price

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the poems of William Empson in an attempt to add knowledge to what poetry can do for science in culture, and vice versa. Empson took inspiration from the world of entomology and was heavily influenced by science-fiction writers, including H.G. Wells, T.S. Elliot and John Donne, who is the subject of his second major essay, ‘Donne the Space Man’. In writing the poem, ‘The Ants’. Empson blends entomology and science fiction and attempts to transcend the established political symbolism of social insects.

Keywords:   William Empson, entomology, science fiction, alien life, space travel, insect behavior, H.G. Wells, T.S. Elliot, John Donne

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