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Grant number like: FA-56152-11

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Sarah Tindal Kareem
UCLA; Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90024-4201)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 6/30/2013

Suspended Worlds: Flights of the Imagination in 18th-Century Literature

We think of the Enlightenment as a period with its feet firmly on the ground. My second book project, Suspended Worlds: Flights of the Imagination in Eighteenth-Century Literature, challenges this preconception by drawing attention to the period’s fascination with ideas and objects that are, figuratively and literally, up in the air. Suspended Worlds is an interdisciplinary project that analyzes figures—specifically, bubbles, floating islands, flying carpets, and castles in the air—that embody imaginative speculation in aesthetic, philosophical, scientific, and economic contexts in the long eighteenth century. Suspended Worlds’ working thesis is that eighteenth-century writers invoke floating figures to imitate the very suspension of disbelief that fictional speculations ask the reader to engage. The floating figures that proliferate in eighteenth-century discourse embody eighteenth-century writers’ perception of fictional representations as hovering between assertion and denial.