CFP: Conference, “Literature and Mathematics in C19 Britain and Europe,” Glasgow, May 2011.


Literature and Mathematics in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Europe

An interdisciplinary conference

at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK,

16-18 May 2011.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers or for panels on any aspect of the relationship between literature and mathematics in Europe during the long nineteenth century.  Proposals and papers should be in English.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Daniel Brown (University of Western Australia).

Professor Marilyn Gaull (The Editorial Institute, Boston University)

Professor Nigel Leask (University of Glasgow)

How did nineteenth-century European literary writers and readers interact with mathematics, both advanced and basic?  How were mathematical ideas transformed into narrative or poetry, satirised, domesticated, played with, adapted for religious and political use?  What would be the consequences for nineteenth-century studies of better knowledge and understanding of the period’s mathematical culture?

Mary Poovey wrote in her History of the Modern Fact that for the literary critic, ‘numbers constitute something like the last frontier of representation’.  This conference invites nineteenth-centuryists to explore ways of crossing that frontier.

Topics may include:

  • Metrics and measure in poetry and mathematics
  • Form, geometry and space in literature and mathematics
  • Literature and mathematics in education
  • Demonstration vs ‘moral evidence’
  • Mathematical life-writing
  • Mathematics as language
  • Sacred and profane mathematics
  • Mathematical narratives
  • Towards a methodology of literature and mathematics studies
  • Mathematical models of nineteenth-century writing and reading

Proposals and enquiries should be sent to Alice Jenkins: by 7 February 2011. Acceptances will be mailed out by 14 February and the draft programme will be published shortly afterwards.

This event is funded by the European Research Council and supported by ArtsLab at the University of Glasgow.


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