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Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992$
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Maurice Finocchiaro

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242616

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242616.001.0001

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Secular Indictments

Secular Indictments

Brecht's Atomic Bomb and Koestler's Two Cultures (1947–1959)

(p.295) Chapter 15 Secular Indictments
Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992

Maurice A. Finocchiaro

University of California Press

This chapter explores how Galileo's trial was viewed by secular, socially conscious, left-leaning literary intellectuals in the middle part of the twentieth century. The first thing that Bertolt Brecht's play needs clarification is the issue of truth or accuracy from a historical or factual point of view versus plausibility or effectiveness from a dramatic, theatrical, or fictional point of view. One question about the issue of Galileo's crime involves historical truth versus dramatic plausibility. There is in modern culture a separation between science and religion in Arthur Koestler's account of Galileo's trial. It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that Koestler's criticism is the most serious indictment of Galileo since the original trial. Koestler's account of the Galileo affair displays considerable ingenuity, apparent plausibility, literary readability, interdisciplinary understanding, and a deep and wide-ranging cultural sensitivity.

Keywords:   Galileo, Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Koestler, trial, play

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