Our Place in the Universe

New scientific, medical, and political theories challenged long-held assumptions about God, the universe, the natural world, and human society. Traditional concepts of stability and unity gave way to new ideas of change and multiplicity-described by historian Henry Adams as “the law of the multiverse.”

American writers incorporated these new paradigms into their work. Themes of struggle emerged in novels. Poets and others explored the territory of dreams and the unconscious. New views of class conflict infused nonfiction and fiction narratives, and many authors experimented with multiple perspectives.

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