Tuesday, April 28, 2009

11th May

Many thanks to all who attended last night's fabulous and thought-provoking discussion of Godwin's Man in the Moone!

At our next meeting we'll continue our theme of fantastic voyages by reading Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1864). We meet, as usual, in the upstairs seminar room at Darwin College, from 7.30-9pm.

The text for the reading can be found online here, and the scanned original manuscript here. Alternatively, you can 'turn the pages' of the manuscript on the British Library's site here.

All welcome!

Monday, April 27, 2009

CFP - Correspondence: Travel, Writing, and Literatures of Exploration, c. 1750-c.1850

7-10 April 2010

An international conference hosted by the University of Edinburgh and National Library of Scotland


The University of Edinburgh (Institute of Geography and Centre for the History of the Book), in collaboration
with the National Library of
Scotland, is pleased to announce 'Correspondence: travel, writing, and literatures
of exploration, c. 1750-1850'--a four-day,
interdisciplinary conference concerned with travel, travel writing,
and the associated literatures of exploration.

In bringing together scholarly perspectives from geography, book history, literary studies, and the history of
science, the conference
seeks to interrogate the relationship between travel, exploration, and publishing in
order better to understand how knowledge acquired in
the field became, through a series of material and
translations, knowledge on the page. Plenary speakers include Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University),
Nigel Leask (University of Glasgow), and
Tim Fulford (Nottingham Trent University). Proposals for papers on
aspects of travel in the period in question are welcome. Preference may be given to papers which engage
with one or more of the following

Travellers' inscriptive practices

How, where, when, and why did travellers and explorers choose to
record the details of their journeys? In what respects did the mode
and style of travellers' written accounts--whether rough notes,
regularised diaries and logs, thematic reports, or letters--discipline
their content and reflect their intended purpose?

Travellers' credibility and the veracity of written accounts

Given that travellers and explorers were only ever partial and
imperfect witnesses, how did they assure themselves--and, through the
published versions of their work, their audiences--of the truth? How
did their accounts correspond to the things they sought to describe
and understand? What were the epistemological bases to travellers=92
claims to truth?

The correspondence between manuscript and print

What were the material and epistemic transformations which turned
travellers' initial notes into completed, published narratives? Which
changes and adaptations were considered necessary in making the
transition from manuscript to print? How, in a pre-photographic age,
were credible illustrations produced in the field, and how did they
supplement and lend authority to printed texts?

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to Dr Innes M. Keighren, Institute of Geography,
University of Edinburgh, Drummond
Street, EDINBURGH, EH8 9XP or by email to
innes.keighren@ed.ac.uk no
later than 1 October 2009. The organizers hope to have a programme of over
twenty papers over the four days of the meeting (including
plenary papers).

Organizers: Dr Bill Bell, Dr Innes M. Keighren, Professor Charles W. J. Withers.

Dark Matter - The Poetry of Space

Dark Matter - The Poetry of Space

The Institute for Astronomy, Cambridge.

Organized by the Gulbenkian Foundation

Tuesday 28th April; doors open at 7pm for a prompt 7.30pm start

What happens when poets and astronomers meet?

Astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Paul Murdin will be in conversation with James Fenton and Maurice Riordan,
with readings from Dark Matter: The poetry of space

The event will be chaired by the Director of the Gulbenkian's art programme, Sian Ede

Entrance is free and everyone is welcome

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Conference - Mathematics and Fiction

The British Society for the History of Mathematics is holding a weekend residential meeting on the topic of “Mathematics and Fiction” meeting at Rewley House, Oxford on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 May 2009. This meeting will explore the various uses of mathematics in fiction – novels about mathematics or mathematicians, and novels based on mathematical structures. We have an outstanding line-up of speakers, including novelists, critics and historians from the UK and USA. Don Knuth will be talking about his /Surreal Numbers/, which is the only time a mathematical theory has first been published in the form of a novel, and novelists participating include Andrew Crumey (“Mobius Dick” and “Sputnik Caledonia”), Nikita Lalwani (“Gifted”), Ann Lingard (“The Embalmer’s Book of Recipes”) and Scarlett Thomas (“PopCo” and “The End of Mister Y”). Contributions will take the form of readings and interviews as well as talks, there will be a bookstall and plenty of opportunities to talk to the writers about their work are planned.

Financial support is available for students wishing to attend – please contact the organiser at the email below.

Contributors are as follows:

    * Melanie Bayley (Oxford), 'Free will and statistics in /Middlemarch/ and /Jude the Obscure/'

    * David Bellos (Princeton), author, /Georges Perec: a life in words/, on the Oulipo

    * William Goldbloom Bloch (Wheaton, Massachusetts), 'Navigating Labyrinths in Jorge Luis Borges' story /The Library of Babel/'

    * Andrew Crumey, novelist, author of /Sputnik Caledonia /and /Mobius Dick/

    * Marilyn Gaull (Boston), 'Romantic numeracy'

    * Dorothy Ker, composer, 'the 19th step: Borges, Maths and Music'

    * Donald Knuth (Stanford) on his novel /Surreal Numbers/

    * Nikita Lalwani, novelist, author of /Gifted /

    * Ann Lingard, novelist, '/The Embalmer’s Book of Recipes/ (with a nervous nod towards quasicrystals)'

    * Mark McCartney (Ulster), 'James Clerk Maxwell: A Poetic Life'

    * Tony Mann (Greenwich), ‘Mathematics and fiction”

    * Scarlett Thomas, novelist, author of /PopCo/ and /The End of Mr Y/

Details, abstracts and biographies, and the registration form can be found here. Early registration is recommended. The meeting is organised by Noel-Ann Bradshaw (Greenwich), Raymond Flood (Oxford) and Tony Mann (Greenwich). If you would like to know more please contact Tony Mann (A.Mann@gre.ac.uk).

Monday, April 20, 2009

27th April

We begin our term of fantastic voyages with Francis Godwin's 1638 The Man in the Moone, a photocopy of which is in the Whipple Library, or which is available in Cambridge libraries, or online here.

As usual, we meet from 7.30-9pm in the upstairs seminar room of Darwin College - all welcome!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

History of the Book Seminar, Cambridge

Special seminar in conjunction with Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Clark Lectures

Professor Roger Chartier (Directeur d’Études, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris): ‘Written Culture and Literature in Early Modern Europe. Some propositions.’

7th May, 5pm, Allhusen Room, Trinity College

For more information, contact Daniel Wakelin (dlw22@cam.ac.uk) or Sarah Cain (stc22@cam.ac.uk), or see here.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Two Cultures: 50 Years On

Panel discussion at the Royal Society

Tuesday 5 May at 6:30pm

Chair: Lord Melvyn Bragg; Speakers: Professor Stefan Collini FBA, Rt.Hon John Denham MP, Ms Sian Ede, Professor Marcus du Sautoy

In May 1959, the British scientist and novelist C P Snow delivered his influential Rede Lecture on 'The Two Cultures'. Its central argument was that a breakdown of communication between the two cultures of modern society - the sciences and the literary - was holding back our ability to tackle the world's problems. The term 'two cultures' persists as shorthand for the notion that there is a damaging rift between science and other types of knowledge. Fifty years on, the Royal Society is hosting a public debate to revisit the two cultures argument and assess its applicability to our situation today. Was the two cultures idea exaggerated at the time? Is it a damaging simplification? Is it relevant today? Are the most important intellectual endeavours those which lie in between or combine different cultures? The panel representing science, humanities, politics and the arts will discuss these and similar questions.

For more information including speaker biographies please visit our website. Admission free – no ticket or advance booking. Doors will open at 5.45pm. Seats allocated on a first-come-first served basis. This event will be broadcast live at royalsociety.org/live. Visit our videoarchive at royalsociety.tv

Monday, April 06, 2009

HPS seminars

A number of next term's seminars in the HPS department may be of interest to Reading Group members:

1.) Departmental Seminar, Thursday 21st May, 4.30pm
Guy Ortolano (University of Virginia)
The two cultures controversy: science, literature and cultural politics in postwar Britain

This talk will be about my recent book The Two Cultures Controversy: Science, Literature and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain (Cambridge, 2009). Ever since the scientist-turned-novelist C.P. Snow clashed with literary critic F.R. Leavis in the early 1960s, it has been a commonplace to lament that intellectual life is divided between 'two cultures', the arts and sciences. Yet why did a topic that had long been discussed inspire such ferocious controversy at this particular moment? This talk answers that question by recasting this dispute as an ideological conflict between competing visions of Britain's past, present and future. By excavating the political stakes of the 'two cultures' controversy, this talk seeks to explain the workings of cultural politics during the 1960s more generally, while also revising the meaning of a term that continues to be evoked to this day.

2.) Evolution Reading Group, Thursdays, 1-2pm

21st May, Gillian Beer, Darwin's Plots: evolutionary narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and nineteenth-century fiction (1983), chapters 2 & 3.

4 June, Charles Kingsley, The Water Babies (1863), chapters 1–4.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Easter Term 2009

This term we embark on an eclectic series of fantastic voyages: we will be carried by migratory birds to meet the man in the moon, fall underground to wonderland, travel to Mars on a magic carpet, and pilot a miniature craft into the vessels of the human body.

Copies of the set readings will be placed in the Science and Literature Reading Group boxfile in the Whipple Library.

We meet on Mondays from 7.30-9pm in the upstairs seminar room at Darwin College – all are welcome to join us for the adventure!

Further details, news/updates and relevant links will be added here over the coming months.

Organised by Melanie Keene (HPS) and Daniel Friesner (Science Museum).

27th April
Francis Godwin, The Man in the Moone (1638)
Online text here.

11th May
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (1864)
Online text here, and scanned original manuscript here.

18th May
Edwin Lester Arnold, Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905)
Online text here.

1st June
Isaac Asimov, Fantastic Adventure II: Destination Brain (1987)
Followed by screening of Fantastic Adventure (1966)

24th June
Trip – late-night opening at the Science Museum
We journey to the wilds of South Kensington…

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net - Special Issue


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 here.

Contributors to the volume include:
  • Laurie Garrison and Sibylle Erle, Introduction
  • Sibylle Erle, Blake, Colour and the Truchsessian Gallery: Modelling the Mind and Liberatingthe 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 theVictorian Education of the Senses