The British Society for Literature and Science is pleased to announce the winner of its annual book prize. The prize of £150, for the best monograph or collection of essays published in 2008, has been awarded to George Levine for Realism, Ethics and Secularism: Essays on Victorian Literature and Science (Cambridge University Press). The book prize committee commented as follows:
Levine’s collection of essays on Victorian literature and science will be essential reading for anyone working in the discipline. Brilliantly argued and personally engaging, his essays have implications well beyond their period boundaries. This is true not only for the essay ‘Why Science Isn’t Literature’, which urges us to rethink the implications of constructionist ideas of science, but also of pieces such as ‘In Defense of Positivism’ and ‘The Heartbeat of a Squirrel’. Levine has been central to the shaping of the methodologies of the discipline in the last thirty years, and this collection of essays will continue to guide it in future decades.
The other shortlisted books were:
- Armstrong, Isobel. Victorian Glassworlds (Oxford University Press, 2008)
- Jackson, Noel. Science and Sensation in Romantic Poetry (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism, no.73) (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
- Reiss, Benjamin. Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2008)
The prize was inaugurated last year, when it was awarded to Ralph O’Connor for The Earth on Show (University of Chicago Press, 2007). Books are ineligible if written by, or contain contributions by, members of the BSLS’s executive committee or the book prize committee.