Daily Archives: June 5, 2011

8 hours

8 hours today– most of it spent trying to find new ways to say the same thing– got me a page and a half of very iffy prose. This is the problem with re-writes: you’ve got a passage that hangs together pretty well– one paragraph blends into the next– and then you need to just tuck in some additional information but the text is too tight, there’re no openings at all. So this morning I review what I know about the Scientific Romance, a dead genre, long since superseded by Science Fiction, but significant because it distills what I consider to be a crucial insight about the construction of the youth concept. When G. Stanley Hall invented Adolescence in the course of establishing genetic psychology he did so by relying not only on the insights of Ernst Haeckel’s biogenetic law, but according to a whole mishmash of cultural values he never examined in their entirety. He was a big R Romantic, suckled on the thin milk of Emersonian idealism, educated by Germans in the late Romantic era, soaked in sturm und drang. His vision of youth, then, emerges from the confluence of poetry and dicey science which makes treating one of his lesser texts, “The Fall of Atlantis,” as a Scientific Romance (and a Lost Race narrative to boot) perfect.

Continue reading