The Routledge Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science

ISBN 9781472429872
Published May 17, 2017 by Routledge
478 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Tracing the continuities and trends in the complex relationship between literature and science in the long nineteenth century, this companion provides scholars with a comprehensive, authoritative and up-to-date foundation for research in this field. In intellectual, material and social terms, the transformation undergone by Western culture over the period was unprecedented. Many of these changes were grounded in the growth of science. Yet science was not a cultural monolith then any more than it is now, and its development was shaped by competing world views. To cover the full range of literary engagements with science in the nineteenth century, this companion consists of twenty-seven chapters by experts in the field, which explore crucial social and intellectual contexts for the interactions between literature and science, how science affected different genres of writing, and the importance of individual scientific disciplines and concepts within literary culture. Each chapter has its own extensive bibliography. The volume as a whole is rounded out with a synoptic introduction by the editors and an afterword by the eminent historian of nineteenth-century science Bernard Lightman.

Table of Contents


Notes on contributors


Introduction: literature and science in the nineteenth century

John Holmes and Sharon Ruston

I Contexts

1) Science, empire and globalization in the nineteenth century

Sadiah Qureshi

2) Scientific cultures and institutions

Martin Willis

3) Science and religion

Paul White

4) Women and science

Michelle Boswell

II Genres

5) The novel as observation and experiment

Charlotte Sleigh

6) From Gothic to science fiction

Adam Roberts

7) Poetry and science

Gregory Tate

8) Scientific literary criticism

Peter Garratt

9) Writing the scientist: biography and autobiography

David Amigoni

10) Writing science: scientific prose

Jonathan Smith

11) Science for the general reader

Ralph O’Connor

12) Science in the periodical press

Gowan Dawson

13) Science for children

Debbie Bark

14) Staging science

Iwan Morus

III Mathematical and physical sciences

15) Mathematics

Alice Jenkins

16) Astronomy

Pamela Gossin

17) Geology

Adelene Buckland

18) Chemistry

Sharon Ruston

19) Thermodynamics

Barri Gold

20) Electricity

Stella Pratt-Smith

21) Technology

Meegan Kennedy

IV Biological and human sciences

22) Natural history, evolution and ecology: the biological sciences

John Holmes

23) Archaeology and anthropology

Julia Reid

24) Medical research

Andrew Mangham

25) Sciences of the mind

Suzy Anger

26) Sexology

Anna Katharina Schaffner

27) Occult sciences

Christine Ferguson


Bernard Lightman


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John Holmes is Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Sharon Ruston is Professor of Romanticism at Lancaster University, UK.