Quantum Physics and Literature

Oppermann S. G.

ANGLIA-ZEITSCHRIFT FUR ENGLISCHE PHILOLOGIE, vol.133, no.1, pp.87-104, 2015 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 133 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/anglia-2015-0007
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.87-104


The central contention of this essay is that the quantum world is not only a scientific site of complex experiments conducted by specialists expressed in mathematical formulae, but also a rich territory of imagination. Exploring the quantum world of infinite possibilities, a world of entangled agencies, and meaningful symmetries between modern science and the humanities, the essay focuses on how literature and quantum physics intersect in the interpretation of a physical reality whose essential ontology remains elusive. Since both the physicists and the literary scholars ask the same question of how to make this ontology meaningful for the general cultural imaginary, and since they both rely on metaphoric perception and hermeneutic processes in their accounts, I argue that the borders that separate the two disciplines are more porous than vigorous. The complementarity of these "two cultures", in other words, offers a viable framework for meeting the universe halfway.