MMLA 2015: English Literature 1800-1900 Permanent Section CFP

Deadline: April 5, 2015

Dates: November 12-15, 2015

Location: Columbus, OH

CFP Link for Permanent Sections / CFP for Special Sessions 

“Intersections of Art and Science in the Long Nineteenth Century”

We welcome papers that explore the intersection of “art” and “science” in the long nineteenth century. From Keats’s enigmatic intonation “beauty is truth, truth beauty,” to Ruskin’s declaration that “high art differs from low art in possessing an excess of beauty in addition to its truth, not in possessing excess of beauty inconsistent with truth,” to the aestheticism of the fin de siècle, the nineteenth century witnessed a fraught renegotiation of the relationships between knowledge, art, and science. If the opposition between C.P. Snow’s “two cultures” is one legacy of the nineteenth century, we aim to take seriously the “and” of “arts and sciences,” highlighting the consonances and mutualities as well as the disjunctions that characterized the period.

We are interested in artistic representations, practices, and engagements with the empirical sciences, and in the epistemological shifts that constructed the “artistic” and the “empirical.” Examples are countless. Coleridge collaborated with his physician-superintendent James Gillman on The Theory of Life. John Constable’s cloud studies are renowned for their meteorological rigor. George Eliot represented medical doctors as modern heroes in a sociologically-inflected novelistic form. Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote letters to Nature magazine. Erasmus Darwin’s poemThe Botanic Garden makes significant contributions to Linnaean taxonomy, while Byron’s doctor John Polidori founded the vampire genre. Indeed, scientific practice depends upon forms of representation, and artistic practice necessarily involves knowledge-work.

250-word abstracts are due by April 5th, and should include name, institutional affiliation, email address, and paper title. Send to Andrew Welch at


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