In today’s class, we explored topics related to seasonal symbolism within the Evergreen periodical, most specifically symbolism related to the winter through ornaments and pictures. In Alevtina’s presentation, she explores J. Author Thomson’s Biology of Winter he mixes the use of science fiction and fairytale, which initially sounded bizarre to me. Fairytales are known for their mystic and mythological narratives, meaning the events that take place in the story are by nature exclusive from our lived reality. The issue that can be presented when intertwining science and myth, is a sense of convoluting our reality to the unlikely or impossible (to the mythological reality). I think “science” can be easily misinterpreted because of its new connotations that often associate ideas like lab-made chemical and advanced robotics, however science during this time was founded on plants, and natural philosophy. In Thomson’s story, he talks about the sciences of the seasons, by adding empirical values such as lengths of time to the seasons, he portrays to the reader the feeling of analyzing nature, “to give us a numerical expression of the mean daily sun-heat at any given time” (Thomson 10). Which is scientific because of its methodology and expression, but not necessarily something I would consider as a clashing of opposing ideas. After our class discussion, I think that it is in fact very reasonable that science and fairytales are presented together in this way, and that this text offers an exciting twist to the common narrative.
On a different note, I found our class analysis on the picture of “Lapis Philosophorum” very interesting, especially because of the use of Egyptian symbolism. A question that has stuck with me is, why did they also use the Sphinx on either side of the totem? Was it purely to stay on the theme or was there something more to it?