Beginning is easy. Modern science and the modern novel in the Englishspeaking world both trace their origins to the same time and the same place: the last forty years of the seventeenth century in Britain. Their common origins are, as numerous historians have noted, no coincidence. Both novels and experiments were new technologies for making truth, a vital accomplishment for a fragile era in which old certainties had been destroyed. Truth, as we shall encounter it, is more than simple factuality. It implies a prioritisation: something that matters more than other things. It is something worth valuing: something that speaks to and for a culture or society. Truth embodies the context and methods of its own making as well as being a set of facts and propositions that are affirmed.
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