[Extended Deadline] Endless forms most beautiful: Science in 19th C Am Lit: 1/9/12

full name / name of organization: 
American Literature Association 2012
contact email: 

Endless forms most beautiful: Science in 19th Century American Literature

I would like to propose a panel of papers that explores the role of science (rather than technology) in 19th century American literature for the 23rd Annual American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco, CA.

While the 19th century gave birth to technological innovations like the light bulb, the locomotive, and the daguerreotype, it also saw the discovery of anesthesia and vaccination, evolution and genetics, radioactivity and non-Euclidean geometry, and electromagnetism and the law of conservation of energy. Writers from Edgar Allan Poe to Mark Twain were tapped into the scientific community and even though some discoveries remained outside the day-to-day lives of most Americans, writers sought to bring the implications of these discoveries to life in various ways; by reimagining the world through new lenses, or justifying previously held beliefs. This panel seeks papers that address this science—through support, resistance, interrogation, etc.—in the long 19th century and their articulation in literature of the period.

Please email 250-word abstracts and a CV to Aaron DeRosa at aderosa@purdue.edu by January 9, 2012.