Forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in November 2012
“Loving Faster than Light” focuses on the popular reception of relativity in Britain, demonstrating how abstract science came to be entangled with class politics, new media technology, changing sex relations, crime, cricket, and cinematography in the British imagination during the 1920s. Blending literary analysis with insights from the history of science, Katy Price reveals how cultural meanings for Einstein’s relativity were negotiated in newspapers with differing political agendas, popular science magazines, pulp fiction adventure and romance stories, detective plots, and esoteric love poetry.
“Loving Faster than Light is a very well-written, insightful examination of one of the essential problems of the history of science—how does elite, esoteric knowledge get read, used, modified, and owned by those outside the professional scientific community? Katy Price focuses on one of the defining scientific ideas of the twentieth century—relativity—and skillfully demonstrates the many genres and styles through which it was adopted and changed. An excellent book that brings together a number of disciplinary approaches.” (Matthew Stanley)
“In this witty and often lyrical book, Katy Price recaptures the heady moment when the public first learned of Einstein’s revolutionary vision of the cosmos. She shows how ordinary people made sense of the theory of relativity by thinking through its implications for their own concerns—about social status, money, gender, romance, and more. Price’s literary sophistication offers historians an innovative model for reading popular science.” (Deborah R. Coen)
“‘The latest craze is Mr. Einstein’s Relativity Theory,’ D. H. Lawrence remarked in 1923; ‘everybody catches fire at the word Relativity.’ Katy Price reveals just how far and how fast—and how strangely—that fire spread through the 1920s and beyond.” (Randall Stevenson)