Epistemocriticism of Victorian and Edwardian Literature
Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens 90 (Autumn 2019)
Deadline for proposals: 15 January 2019
Issue number 90 of Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens (http://journals.openedition.org/cve) will be entitled “Epistemocriticism of Victorian and Edwardian Literature” and will be published in the autumn of 2019. It is meant as a tribute to Annie Escuret who was professor at Université Paul Valéry–Montpellier 3 for many years and the director of this journal from 1997 to 2013, and it will also stand as a continuation of issue 46, “H. G. Wells : Science & Fiction in the 19th century”, which was edited by Annie Escuret in October 1997, when she took up the direction of the journal and brought it to its renowned standard.
That issue proposed the then innovative approach of epistemocriticism: Eliot, Dickens, Meredith, Hardy and Wells were studied in the light of her favourite contemporary French theorists—Michel Serres, Henri Atlan, Michel Foucault, Michel Pierssens, Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers—as well as that of Anglophone scholars, such as Gillian Beer (Darwin’s Plots), Sally Shuttleworth (George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Science), George Levine (Darwin and the Novelists), Gerard Holston (Thematic Origin of Scientific Thought : Kepler to Einstein), or Peter Morton (The Vital Science : Biology and the Literary Imagination). It was thus that issue 46 meant to capture the relationships between science and fiction and more generally the encounters between oeuvres and knowledge. Such encounters are at the core of the epistemocritic perspective which consists in analyzing the uses a text makes of scientific knowledge and how it in turn produces knowledge itself. Indeed, more than any other period in human history, the 19th century witnessed the extensive development of science and literature, with the growth of the realist / naturalist novel, but also the advent and rapidly growing hegemony of a vast number of sciences and a new episteme.
Sciences are certainly many and varied, and to the well-known and established sciences, the 19th century added some of the most illustrious – or notorious – pseudo-sciences, namely J. K. Lavater’s physiognomony, Franz Josef Gall’s phrenology, Cesare Lombroso’s criminal anthropology, as well as graphology, pathognomy, craniology, which were often used to dubious ends. However, this was also a century which most particularly witnessed much more seriously-oriented scientific developments, such as those of economics, thermology, thermodynamics, cosmology, physics, chemistry, electricity, magnetism, geology, biology, psychology, sociology, medicine, heredity, evolutionism, determinism, eugenics, physiology. The 19th century can boast the advent of sciences concerned with the living world, a potentially fertile connecting ground between sciences and literature. Thanks to widespread theories of the living world, cultural representations of living organisms diffused widely and influenced historical, political and social thinkers; simple analogies, such as grafting, invention, cross-breeding are just as many scientific concepts that found their way into the literary works of Victorian and Edwardian authors, who were both witnesses and actors in this most fertile period.
Please send your proposals to Luc Bouvard by January 15th, 2019 at the latest.
Your article may be in French or in English. Please abide by the « instructions to authors » posted on the CVE website at the following address.
https://journals.openedition.org/cve/157 for articles written in French.
https://journals.openedition.org/cve/158 for articles written in English.
(posted 29 June 2018)