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By Alexander C. T. Geppert

Imagining Outer area makes an enthralling enhance into the cultural heritage of outer house and extraterrestrial existence within the twentieth-century mind's eye. Bringing jointly seventeen cutting-edge essays, the quantity explores the complexities of West-European astroculture and breaks new floor within the historicization of the distance Age.

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Additional info for Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century

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26 The launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 – so the widely accepted standard periodization and oft-repeated master narrative asserts – marked the beginning of the eagerly awaited Space Age, and over the course of the ensuing ‘Space Race’ the ‘visionary’ or ‘pioneering’ era of spaceflight was finally superseded by ‘real’ spaceflight, with the ‘exploration’ and ensuing ‘conquest’ of space being gradually, yet continually advanced. ’27 14 Introduction While evidently not questioning the power of fiction, be it scientific or not, the present volume does not partake in these debates about primacy and substitution.

That the pendulum could be said to have swung back towards ‘fiction’ in recent years, caused by ‘factual’ disillusionments such as the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003; the limited public appeal of the most expensive civilian project ever undertaken, the International Space Station; or the cancellation of America’s Constellation and Space Shuttle programs in February 2010 and July 2011, respectively, might be a noteworthy observation beyond the scope of this essay. As early as 1972, science fiction author Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) raised similar doubts inspired by the Apollo moon landings: ‘[.

This latter strand is often used to explain man’s continuing and inescapable fascination with outer space, when confronted with the infinite and inconceivable breadth of the abyss. Freud skeptically discussed this phenomenon under the term of ozeanisches Gefühl (oceanic feeling), considered by some of his (and our) contemporaries as nothing less than the basis of religion. 31 Thus, exploring imaginaries of outer space and conceptions of other worlds eventually leads to analyzing their strong, yet all too often obscured, affiliations with transcendental beliefs and the spiritual beyond.

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