The Double Helix Essay

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In the following essay, Limon examines The Double Helix as a literary work, arguing that Watson's "sense of literature ... is unique and even (conceivably) systematically worked out."

James Watson first earned his fame in 1953 as the discoverer, with Francis Crick, of the structure of the DNA molecule; in 1968, he became generally notorious as the author of a scandalous memoir about that discovery; in 1980, he gained an expanded celebrity as the author of a canonized work of literature. One might have thought that the last two events ought to have been more nearly identical, given that they are based on the publication and republication of a single book, The Double Helix— except that the memoir, which some reviewers at the time of its controversial publication dismissed along with Françoise Gilot's Life with Picasso, was brought out in 1980 in a Norton Critical Edition. The Norton people do this...

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This section contains 8,409 words
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Buy The Double Helix Study Guide
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The Double Helix from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.