April 2009

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As announced at our AGM at the Reading Conference, none of the vacancies on the BSLS Executive was contested, and the following officers were elected unopposed:

Chair: Michael Whitworth (proposed by Sharon Ruston & John Holmes)
Secretary: Kelley Swain (proposed by John Holmes & Melanie Keene)
Treasurer: Dan Cordle (proposed by Jon Adams & Sharon Ruston)
Membership Secretary: Stella Pratt-Smith (proposed by Alice Jenkins & Michael Whitworth)
Communications Officer: Stuart Robertson (proposed by Michael Whitworth & Alice Jenkins)
Members at Large: John Holmes (proposed by Michael Whitworth & Alice Jenkins)
----- Melanie Keene (proposed by John Holmes & Katy Price)
[one Member-at-large post remains unfilled.]

Contact details are given on the BSLS website.

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 winner was announced at the Society’s annual conference in Reading. For a review, see George Levine, Realism, Ethics and Secularism.

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.


A one-day conference on this subject will be held at the University of Salford on Friday 4th
December 2009.

It has been 150 years since Thomas de Quincey died on the 8th December
1859. Conference papers are invited on any topic concerning his work,
Manchester, and medicine, during the period of his lifetime (1785-1859).

Plenary speaker Peter Kitson (author of Romantic Literature, Race, and
Colonial Encounter, 2008) will speak on 'Mr De Quincey and Dr White: The
Racial Politics of Manchester Medicine', and Grevel Lindop (author of The
Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey, 1981) will speak on 'Confessions
and Case Histories: De Quincey and the Medical Sublime'. We are hoping to
show an exhibition of de Quincey books from the University of Salford's
archives to accompany the conference.

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to Sharon Ruston,
s.ruston@salford.ac.uk , by 31st May 2009.

This conference is sponsored by BARS, the British Association for Romantic

Science, Technology and the Senses, edited by Sibylle Erle and Laurie Garrison

We are delighted to announce the release of this special issue of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net available at http://www.ron.umontreal.ca/.

Contributors to the volume include:

  • Laurie Garrison and Sibylle Erle,, ‘Introduction’
  • Sibylle Erle, ‘Blake, Colour and the Truchsessian Gallery: Modelling the Mind and Liberating the Observer’
  • Kelly Grovier, ‘‘Paradoxes of the Panoscope’: ‘Walking’ Stewart and the Making of Keats’s Ambivalent Imagination’
  • Laurie Garrison, ‘Imperial Vision in the Arctic: Fleeting Looks and Pleasurable Distractions in Barker’s Panorama and Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Gavin Budge, ‘The Hero as Seer: Character, Perception and Cultural Health in Carlyle’
  • Verity Hunt, ‘Raising a Modern Ghost: The Magic Lantern and the Persistence of Wonder in the Victorian Education of the Senses’

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