Darwin, Tennyson and their readers conference

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 (Valerie.Purton@anglia.ac.uk) 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
Email: Valerie.Purton@anglia.ac.uk