May 2008

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2009 is both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th
anniversary of The Origin of Species. Victorian Studies will mark
the occasion with a special issue on “Darwin and the Evolution of
Victorian Studies.”

Since the publication of VS’s first Darwin issue in 1959, the study of
Darwin and the relationship of his life and work to Victorian culture
has become an industry. In the past twenty-five years alone we have
witnessed the publication of the first fifteen volumes of the Darwin
correspondence, Darwin’s 1836-1844 notebooks, major Darwin biographies
by Janet Browne and Adrian Desmond and James Moore, and important books
by such scholars as Gillian Beer, Bert Bender, Peter Bowler, Sandra
Herbert, George Levine, Ronald Numbers, Robert Richards, Rebecca Stott,
and Robert Young. In recent years, the study of Darwin has begun to take
new directions through examinations of Darwin’s writings beyond the
Origin and the Journal of Researches, investigations of Darwin’s
impact on previously overlooked areas (e.g., art and visual culture,
psychology and the emotions), and new approaches to Darwinism’s impact
on Victorian attitudes to gender and courtship, race and empire,
literature and publishing. The fact that Darwin’s complete writings and
5,000 pieces of his correspondence have been made available in
searchable online databases promises to open up Darwin scholarship even

Where is the study of Darwin and Darwinism in Victorian culture heading?
This special issue will attempt to showcase work that pursues these new
approaches or offers even newer ones. I invite essays on all aspects of
Darwin and Darwin studies in the Victorian period from scholars working
in a range of areas, including history and history of science, literary
and cultural criticism, art history, and history of the book.

The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2008. Essays of not more than
8,000 words (including endnotes) should be prepared in MLA Style.
Submissions and inquiries should be sent directly to the issue’s guest

Jonathan Smith
Humanities Department
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128


The 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 13-16, 2008. The SLSA welcomes papers and panels on all topics of interest to SLSA members. This year, they also invite papers that touch on the theme of "Reiteration." The deadline for proposals is 15 July 2008. Contact the conference organisers at


DARWIN, TENNYSON and their READERS: A Bicentenary Celebration, 1809 – 2009
A One-Day Conference to be held in Cambridge,
Saturday 17th October 2009, 10am – 6pm.

Plenary Speakers:

Gillian Beer, George Levine
Offers of Short Papers (20 minutes long) are invited.

Please contact: Valerie Purton, Anglia Ruskin University ( by 1st October, 2008.

2009 will mark the bicentenary of the births of both Alfred Tennyson and Charles Darwin. Our one-day conference will celebrate this event by exploring the interaction of literature and science in the Victorian period, mining the rich vein of research opened up by Professor Dame Gillian Beer in Darwin’s Plots (1983) and continued by Professor George Levine in Darwin and the Novelists (1988). Professors Beer and Levine will both present plenary papers at the conference, outlining their latest thinking and building on the central insight that ‘the cultural traffic ran both ways’. Short papers are therefore invited, exploring the links not only between Tennyson and Darwin, but more generally between the writings of nineteenth century scientists and of nineteenth century poets or novelists – evidence that they were reading each other. A paper on Thomas Huxley’s reading of Tennyson would be especially welcomed; some more obvious subjects might be: George Eliot’s reading of Darwin; Darwin and Myth; Darwin reading Dickens; ‘Optimistic Materialism’ - in the light of George Levine’s latest book, Darwin Loves You (2007); ‘Condition of England novels and Evolutionary Theory: Kingsley, Disraeli and Darwin’; ‘Tennyson and Browning: two responses to evolutionary debates’; ‘Growing Younger with the Years: the reputations of Tennyson and Darwin reconsidered’; or ‘A Passion for Fabulation: Darwin, Tennyson and Autobiography’.

Proposals for papers, including a 300-word summary, should be sent to:

Dr Valerie Purton
Department of English
Anglia Ruskin University
East Road