"Mitt i evigheten" : Gestaltningen av den moderna naturvetenskapens kosmos i Peter Nilsons Stjärnvägar

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“In the middle of eternity”. Representation of the Cosmos of Modern Science in Peter Nilson’s Stjärnvägar.

In this article, I analyse Peter Nilson’s essay book Stjärnvägar. The book is about the world view of modern science, and my point of departure is the question of how perspectives and theories from modern science are represented. In Stjärnvägar, Nilson repeatedly refers to the book itself as a “cosmic book”. My analysis focuses on what a “cosmic book” is, and in this analysis Nilson’s reference to Dante’s Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy) is central. I show that there is an overarching narrative structure in Stjärnvägar, which is connected to one of the main themes of the book: the creative aspects of cosmic time and evolutionary processes. The overarching narrative is shown to consist of a kind of self-thematisation: Peter Nilson’s writing of the cosmic book. This finds a parallel in Dante, who also thematises the writing of his book. Another parallel is both authors’ attempts to represent the medieval and the modern cosmos, respectively. The different literary forms of Divine Comedy and Stjärnvägar are also shown to mirror differences in the world views of medieval philosophy and modern science. I conclude by discussing further research on other books by Nilson, as well as on books by other authors in genres close to Stjärnvägar: essay books and popular science books attempting to discuss and convey the theories and world views of modern science.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • Peter Nilson, Dante Alighieri, cosmos, essay, science and literature
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)198-221
JournalSamlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

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