DARWIN, TENNYSON and their READERS:
A Bicentenary Celebration, 1809-2009
2009 marks the bicentenary of the birth of both Charles Darwin and
Alfred Tennyson. 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 developed by Professor
George Levine in Darwin and the Novelists (1988).
Professors Beer and Levine will both present plenary papers at the
conference, outlining the latest thinking and building on the central
insight that ‘the cultural traffic ran both ways’. Short papers will
therefore explore, not only the influence of Darwin on writers as various
as George Eliot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Hardy, but in
addition the ways in which Victorian scientists, in particular Thomas
Huxley, read and misread Tennyson and other writers, including
Darwin’s favourite novelist Charles Dickens. There will be papers on the
effect of evolutionary debates on women writers, notably Sarah Grand
and Augusta Webster.
Speakers will include David Amigoni, Gowan Dawson, Roger Ebbatson,
Matthew Rowlinson, Marion Shaw, Rebecca Stott and Clive Wilmer.
For further information contact valerie.purton _at_ anglia.ac.uk.