Victorian Reproductions Workshop

24th-25th March 2023

This workshop aims to uncover some of the complex textual and cultural relations and representations of reproduction in the Victorian era. Against the background of the surge of medico-scientific tracts on human anatomy and sexuality (Gray’s Anatomy; Geddes and Thomson’s Evolution of Sex; William Acton’s Function and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs; William Buchan’s Advice to Mothers) and in the wake of Darwin’s evolutionary theories in The Origin of the Species, reproduction saw an increase in currency and relevance in Victorian cultural life. In the field of Victorian literature, reproduction holds a particular fascination, since, as John Holmes notes, literature, and poetry especially, can serve as “a documentary source for understanding the significance of evolution within Victorian culture” (60). In this context, the workshop will investigate how productions and reproductions in and of texts, of metre and form merge with cultural reflections about procreation, configurations of bodies and gender, as well as the development of the human species in general.

You can read the full Call for Papers here.

Image from Denman, Thomas. A Collection of Engravings, Tending to Illustrate the Generation and Parturition of Animals, and of the Human Species. London, J. Johnson, 1787.