How the Gene Got Its Groove

Figurative Language, Science, and the Rhetoric of the Real

Elizabeth Parthenia Shea
eISBN-13: 9780791478516

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Against a backdrop of the history of the gene as a scientific and a cultural icon, How the Gene Got Its Groove examines how "genes" function as rhetorical objects. Returning to Wilhelm Johannsen's original argument for the term, Elizabeth Parthenia Shea maintains that the gene was, first and foremost, a rhetorical invention, designed to lay claim to a material reality and to dissociate itself from the problems of language, conjecture, and rhetorical uncertainty. She traces the rhetorical work of the gene through scientific and nonscientific arguments throughout the twentieth century. The gene's travels between scientific and popular texts challenge us to recognize the subtle powers of figurative language in creating a sense that matters of science stand outside the contingencies of language and the influences of rhetoric.

ISBNs 9780791478516, 0791478513, 9780791474266
Language English