Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Knowledge Revisited

Poul Anderson, The Boat Of A Million Years (London, 1991).

Ten days ago, reflecting on kinds of knowledge, I decided to reread Chapter I of Boat, because this chapter focuses on an ancient search for knowledge, before philosophy and science had been differentiated. Little did I suspect either that rereading this single chapter would lead to a full reread of the novel or that an enormous amount of information remained to be excavated from the text if the reader was prepared to follow up every unfamiliar word and obscure reference.

There has been a second post on "Knowledge" and, more recently, I have been amazed to find that major events during the Battle of Stalingrad are encapsulated in Chapter XVII. The search for knowledge includes not only philosophy and science but also history - but we must read and reread Poul Anderson's works of fiction very closely if we are to benefit from the kinds of knowledge embedded in them.

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