George Levine (Emeritus Professor, Rutgers University) is one of the world’s leading figures in the field of science, literature and culture. His books include Darwin and the Novelists (1988), Darwin Loves You: Natural Selection and the Re-enchantment of the World (2006), Realism, Ethics, and Secularism: Essays in Victorian Literature and Science (2008), and Darwin the Writer (2011). During his visit to Oxford he will be giving the following talks:

29 April  Lecture on  ‘Science and Religion from Herschel to Gould’

5.30  Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne’s College.  There will be a drinks reception following the lecture.

1 May  ‘Crossing Boundaries: the challenges of working across science and humanities’.  TORCH seminar.  Panellists:  George Levine;  Sunetra Gupta (novelist and Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, Oxford); Michael Whitworth (English Faculty, Oxford).  Chair, Sally Shuttleworth (English Faculty, Oxford).

1-2.30 TORCH seminar room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. Lunch will be available in the adjacent room from 12.30.

7 May Lecture: ‘Victorian finance and death: Money in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend

5.00  English Faculty, St Cross Building, Lecture Theatre 2  There will be a drinks reception following the lecture.

9 May Seminar ‘Paradox: the Art of the Scientific Naturalists’

2-3.30 Seminar room A, English Faculty, St Cross Building, Manor Road.  Joint Literature and Science  and  History of Science seminar.

All events are open to all.

The Society is delighted to announce that the 2013 BSLS Book Prize goes to Robert Mitchell for Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science and Literature, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Congratulations to all four shortlisted authors, and especially to Professor Mitchell on being this year’s winner, for a book of considerable research and erudition that takes literature and science scholarship in new directions. For full details of the shortlist and previous winners, click here.

Seminar and Masterclass on Science and Literary Form - Janine Rogers speaking in London April 28th and 30th, 2014

Professor Janine Rogers from Mount Allison University in Canada will be a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination at the University of Westminster from April 28th to 30th, 2014. During that time Janine will give a Seminar and a Masterclass on science and literary form. The details are as follows:


Monday April 28th, 5-6.30pm, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, Room UG05 (accompanied by drinks)

Seminar Title: What has the Medieval Manuscript Done for Us Lately?: The Codex and the Craft of Thought from Chaucer to Cox.

This seminar traces the roots of public science in museums and popular science texts back to medieval book culture. It considers how manuscripts and other medieval literary structures continue to inspire contemporary scientists like Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox, especially in their popular writing and other public science work. The seminar considers how the medieval literary heritage of popular science is part of an investment in aesthetic and spiritual values that help science to connect with the general public. The research considers literary questions in both the original medieval context and in the context of contemporary science writing, but it also extends literary analysis into areas beyond literature, including the history of science, museums and public policy, media studies, and science in society. All welcome – but a place must be booked via Rebecca Spear (


Wednesday April 30th, 3-5pm, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, Room 206 (afternoon tea provided)

Masterclass: “Thinking through Form in Literature and Science.”

In this masterclass Janine will talk through her methods of working with the formal characteristics of literary writing and how these inform interdisciplinary relations with the sciences. This event is particularly aimed at postgraduates and early career researchers working in interdisciplinary ways with literary texts. All welcome – but a place must be booked via Rebecca Spear (

25-26 September 2014, Faculty of English Language and Literature, University of Oxford

Convenor: Dr Tiziana Morosetti (Oxford)

Funded under the 2011 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships scheme, European Commission

Confirmed speakers: Professor Ross Forman (Warwick), Dr Peter Yeandle (Manchester), Dr Hazel Waters (Institute of Race Relations, London)

Topics include:

  • Definitions of ‘exotic’
  • Staging the ‘exotic’ body
  • Cultural and political backgrounds, including science and the ‘exotic’
  • The travelling ‘exotic’
  • The legacy of 19th-century ‘exotic’ body

Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short bio should be sent to by 25 May 2014. Speakers whose abstracts have been accepted will be notified by 15 June.



Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine

Edited by Sharon Ruston, Alice Jenkins, and Catherine Belling

Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine is an exciting new series that focuses on one of the most vibrant and interdisciplinary areas in literary studies: the intersection of literature, science and medicine. Comprised of academic monographs, essay collections, and Palgrave Pivot books, the series will emphasize a historical approach to its subjects, in conjunction with a range of other theoretical approaches. The series will cover all aspects of this rich and varied field and is open to new and emerging topics as well as established ones.

About the editors

Sharon Ruston is a Chair in Romanticism and Research Director for the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, UK. She sits on the Executive Committee for the British Society of Science and Literature.

Alice Jenkins is a Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture at Glasgow University, UK. She is also a co-founder and former chair of the British Society of Science and Literature.

Catherine Belling is an Associate Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University, USA. She is also the Executive Editor of the journal ‘Literature and Medicine’.

Call for proposals

For information about submitting a Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine proposal, please contact: Ben Doyle, or Catherine Belling, or Sharon Ruston to, Brigitte Shull, or Alice Jenkins.

Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science & Media

BSLS is pleased to announce the shortlist for this year’s prize for the best book in the field of literature and science scholarship. The four shortlisted titles are:

The winner will be announced at the dinner of the annual conference, held in April at the University of Surrey.

The British Society for Literature and Science 2014 Conference will be taking place Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 April 2014, hosted at the University of Surrey. To see the programme, click hereFor information regarding getting to the University of Surrey, Stag Hill Campus please follow this link. The conference is taking place in the Lecture Theatre Block which is located at the heart of the University campus. If you have any questions or concerns please email

Submissions for the British Society for Literature and Science and Journal of Literature and Science prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science are due by 12 noon on next Tuesday, 1st April, 2014. Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal. They should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words long, inclusive of references, and should be send by email to both John Holmes, Chair of the BSLS (, and Martin Willis, Editor of JLS ( The prize is open to BSLS members who are postgraduate students or have completed a doctorate within three years of this date. (To join BSLS, go to The prize will be judged jointly by representatives of the BSLS and JLS.

The winning essay will be announced on the BSLS website and published in JLS. The winner will also receive a prize of £100. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize should no essay of a high enough standard be submitted.

To read the results of this year’s essay prize, click here.

A reminder that the University of Reading is offering a PhD studentship based at the IRHS to study the relationship between zoology and literature in relation to the Cole Library of Early Medicine and Zoology. We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in either literature or biology or both. The studentship covers full fees and a bursary of £2000 per year. The project will begin in October, and the deadline for applications is 29th March. If you would like to apply for the studentship, or to recommend it to one of your friends or students, click here for more details:

Nature’s Stories PhD

Applications are invited for BSLS small grants of up to £300 to advance and/or promote the study of literature and science. Examples of things for which the awards might be used are expenses for visiting speakers, seminar series and debates, and other funding to stage events on literature and science.  The scheme is not intended for individual conference travel, but applications to stage special BSLS panels at appropriate conferences (other than the BSLS 2014 conference) will be considered.

Applicants should be current members of BSLS and should apply by making a case, in up to 300 words, for how the award will contribute to the development of literature and science; a brief costing should be appended to the end of the application.  Where funding is sought for BSLS panels a clear indication of the scope of the panel, and of its contribution to the understanding of literature and science, should be included.  Recipients of small grants are asked to acknowledge BSLS sponsorship appropriately in publicity for events and to provide a brief report on events for the BSLS newsletter.

The application should be e-mailed, as a Word attachment, to the BSLS Treasurer, Daniel Cordle (, by 7 April, 2014.   Applications will be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee.  Applicants may apply for any amount up to £300; in some instances a proportion of the amount applied for may be awarded.  Successful applicants will be informed by the end of May.

Queries about the scheme may be directed to Daniel Cordle, but no correspondence will be entered into about the decisions of the Committee.  International members of BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards, but should note that they will be distributed in the form of bank cheques made out in pounds sterling.  Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the awards.

Recent and upcoming events supported by the scheme include the ‘Exhibiting Human Remains’ conference at the Hunterian Museum (June, 2013); a symposium, ‘Body and Mind: Mesmerism in Nineteenth-Century Culture and Literature,’ as part of the Damaging the Body seminar series (October 2013); a ‘Science as the Spark’ panel at the Cambridge Festival of Science (March 2014); and a talk on ‘What Scientists Read: How Does Literature Influence Scientific Thought and Practice?’ at Loncon 3, The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (August 2014).

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