Literary Tools of the Eighteenth Century (Panel at ASECS Annual Conference, March 19-21, 2020, St. Louis, MO)

deadline for submissions: 
September 27, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Carolin Boettcher / UC San Diego
contact email: 

Looking for more submissions!

Please submit proposals of 250 words to Carolin Boettcher at by September 15, 2019.


Tools, instruments, and machines have risen to the forefront in the long eighteenth century. From the microscope in the home to print technologies and carriages, the pervasiveness of tools and machines is unmistakable. This panel will focus on the ways in which people in the eighteenth century interacted with the things that were supposed to make their lives easier, and how these things found their ways into the world of literature. People in the eighteenth century used, appropriated, or contested these objects that enhance the senses, facilitate the production of knowledge, or get people from one place to another. The connections between literature and the tools, instruments, and machines of the long eighteenth century become visible in both the content and the aesthetics of British literature. Possible questions include, but are not limited to: what purpose do tools and instruments like the microscope serve in literature? How do they change our perception of male and female characters? What do we learn about the tools themselves through their presentation in literature?


Carolin Boettcher is a PhD in Literatures in English at the University of California San Diego. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century representations of scientific tools in literature and the convergence of literature and science during the eighteenth century.