Dear USIH Readers,
Question to those who know better: Is it presentist of me, or am I in error, to wonder whether The Descent of Man (1871) would not be a more worthy headliner? I realize it’s not convenient in terms of commemoration dates, but was not Descent more controversial than Origin in terms of public reception? I don’t recall this point ever being made entirely clear in my secondary reading on the subject.
2009 is both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species. Victorian Studies will mark the occasion with a special issue on “Darwin and the Evolution of Victorian Studies.” I invite essays on all aspects of Darwin and Darwin studies in the Victorian period from scholars working in a range of areas, including history and history of science, literary and cultural criticism, art history, and history of the book.
The study of Darwin and the relationship of his life and work to Victorian culture has become an industry. In the past twenty-five years alone we have witnessed the publication of the first fifteen volumes of the Darwin correspondence, Darwin’s 1836-1844 notebooks, major Darwin biographies by Janet Browne and Adrian Desmond and James Moore, and important books by such scholars as Gillian Beer, Bert Bender, Peter Bowler, Sandra Herbert, George Levine, Ronald Numbers, Robert Richards, Rebecca Stott, and Robert Young. In recent years, the study of Darwin has begun to take new directions through examinations of Darwin’s writings beyond the Origin and the Journal of Researches, investigations of Darwin’s impact on previously overlooked areas (e.g., art and visual culture, psychology and the emotions), and new approaches to Darwinism’s impact on Victorian attitudes to gender and courtship, race and empire, literature and publishing. The fact that Darwin’s complete writings and 5,000 pieces of his correspondence have been made available in searchable online databases promises to open up Darwin scholarship even further.
Where is the study of Darwin and Darwinism in Victorian culture heading? This special issue will attempt to showcase work that pursues these new approaches or offers even newer ones.
The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2008. Essays of not more than 8,000 words (including endnotes) should be prepared in MLA Style. Submissions and inquiries should be sent directly to the issue’s guest editor:
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128