Mathematics and Literary Studies engaged in a dialogue? Indeed, this is what this book is all about. It features that both disciplines converse because they can; and they can do so, because they perform both differently and similarly while digging into the gist of all matter. Mathematics operates with metaphors born from real life, because (rather than in spite of) its dedication to reality. Likewise, literature is all but a mere invention. Born from the gist of all matter, it has always been part and parcel thereof. Such fictional in(ter)ventions have become a role model for the study thereof: literary studies. And it is because both mathematics and literary studies speak from the midst of (planetary) worldliness, they happen to overlap. The thus constituted unity in diversity enables dialogues that do not merely exist but grow fruitfully. This is the matter that gave birth to this book’s interdisciplinary dialogue. It centers around the thesis that imagination is not only hosted by literature and its studies, but also by elaborations and considerations of Theoretical Mathematics. Gravitational Waves, Spacetime, Black Holes – what we believe to know about them today started off with the power of imagination. The ability to see what cannot be seen (yet), i.e. the ability to imagine them, has paved the way for being able to understand them via algorithms, topologies and models. Likewise, the science dedicated to imagination, i.e. literary studies, is all about being able to grasp textual worlds as algorithms, topologies and models of planetary encounters. And while modelling and analysing, both disciplines work with overlapping prisms and concepts that have known each other: singularity, multiplicity, butterfly effect, waves. To make a long story short: The book is an invitation to understand imagination as knowledge; and knowledge as imagination.
Susan Arndt, born 1967 in Magdeburg, is a Literary Scholar at the University Bayreuth. Her work is dedicated to Shakespeare and African (Diasporic) Literatures, with a theoretical focus on Intersectionality, Postcolonial Theories and Posthumanism.
Georg Hein, born 1966 in Leipzig, is a Mathematician at the University Duisburg Essen. He is working in Algebraic Geometry, in particular in the theory of the generalised Theta-divisor.