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Call for Papers | British Literature and Technology, 1600-1830

Call for Papers | British Literature and Technology, 1600-1830

Eds. Kristin Girten (U of Nebraska, Omaha) and Aaron R. Hanlon (Colby College)

We invite submissions for British Literature and the History of Technology, 1600-1830, a peer-reviewed, edited volume of essays for the Bucknell University Press Aperçus Series. The Aperçus Series focuses on connections between historiography, culture, and textual representation. The purpose of this volume is to provide a much-needed account of the role and history of technology in British literature and literary studies of the (very) long eighteenth century.

How did literature engage technology in the long eighteenth century? What were the consequences of such engagement? Science Studies of the period from roughly 1600-1830 continues to produce a rich and extensive web of knowledge about relationships between literature and science broadly understood—narrative techniques and scientific practices, Royal Society rhetoric, relationships between the rise of the novel and the rise of experimentalism, among others. Studies of technology are frequently subsumed under the larger banner of the history of science. We aim in this volume to bring technology to the fore and, in so doing, to provide a distinctive opportunity to explore the impact it had on and within British literatures, 1600-1830.

As Francis Bacon observed, some technological developments, like firearms, arose from scientific knowledge (the properties of gunpowder), while others, like the printing press, arose independent of scientific discovery. We’re interested in essays on literature and technology— whether or not the technology under discussion arose from scientific knowledge. Chapter topics of particular interest include relationships between literature and:

§ The microscope/the telescope/scientific instruments

§ Agricultural technologies, the pastoral, especially as related to verse or verse form

§ Technologies of pornography

§ Technologies of visual culture

Additional chapter topics of interest may include, but are not restricted to, relationships between literature and:

§ Print technologies

§ Automata and automation

§ Technology and industrialization

§ Technology and colonialism

§ Machines and machinery

§ Writing technologies

§ Narrative technologies

§ Metaphors of/and technology

§ Technological futures and pasts; obsolescence

Please submit by email a 500-word proposal and a brief CV to Aaron Hanlon ( and Kristin Girten ( by April 15, 2019. Proposals will be promptly acknowledged. Those invited to contribute to the volume can expect to submit essays of 6000-8000 words by August 15, 2019. Essays should follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Please feel free to contact the editors with any questions. For more information about the Aperçus Series, and to view past and forthcoming titles in the series, visit

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