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Uncertain Chances – Science, Skepticism, and Belief in Nineteenth-Century American Literature - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Uncertain Chances: Science, Skepticism, and Belief in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Maurice S. Lee


This book reveals how changing concepts of chance shaped the way American writers struggled with doubt and belief. The nineteenth century witnessed a probabilistic revolution—in emerging sciences of chance (from mathematics to statistical sociology to Darwinism), new cultural practices (involving gambling, warfare, weather forecasting, and financial speculation), and religious faith (including theological and popular understandings of providence). Though traditionally dismissed as a nominal concept indicating human ignorance of causes, chance became increasingly acknowledged as a natural force ... More

Keywords: American literature, nineteenth century, chance, science, religion, skepticism, probability, romanticism, pragmatism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199797578
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797578.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Maurice S. Lee, author
Boston University