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Constance Naden

Scientist, Philosopher, Poet

Series:

Clare Stainthorp

Constance Naden (1858–1889) is a unique voice in Victorian literature and science. This book, the first full-length critical account of her life and works, brings into focus the reciprocal nature of Naden’s poetry, philosophical essays and scientific studies. The development of Naden’s thinking is explored in detail, with newly discovered unpublished poems and notes from her adolescence shedding important light upon this progression.

Close readings of Naden’s wide-ranging corpus of poetry and prose trace her commitment to an interdisciplinary world-scheme that sought unity in diversity. This book demonstrates how a rigorous scientific education, a thorough engagement with poetry and philosophy of the long nineteenth century, an involvement with the Victorian radical atheist movement, and a comic sensibility each shaped Naden’s intellectual achievements. Naden sought to show how the light of reason is made even brighter by the spark of poetic creation and how the imagination is as much a tool of the scientist and the philosopher as the artist.

Taking a comprehensive approach to this complex and overlooked figure of the Victorian period, Stainthorp demonstrates how Naden’s texts provide a new and important vantage point from which to consider synthetic thinking as a productive and creative force within nineteenth-century intellectual culture.

This book was the winner of the 2017 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in Nineteenth-Century Studies.

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Extract

Writing and Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

Edited by J.B. Bullen and Charlotte Ribeyrol

The long nineteenth century, extending from the Napoleonic Wars to the First World War, was a time of enormous change and experimentation. This series aims to publish the work of scholars and critics alert to these changes in a variety of spheres, including literature, art, the sciences, philosophy, and economics. The editors have a special interest in work that addresses questions of aesthetics, poetics, and form at the intersection between the written word, the visual and decorative arts, architecture, and music. Many scholars are now working on the cultural matrix out of which these forms emerge and recent critical thinking has shown how important was the prevailing economic, political, scientific, and philosophical climate in creating the appropriate conditions for artistic production. Some volumes in the series focus on specific writers and texts, while others consider the connection between writing, art, philosophy, and science and the broader cultural horizon. All contribute significantly to the widening sphere of nineteenth-century literary studies.

Proposals are welcome for monographs or edited collections. Those interested in contributing to the series should send a detailed project outline either to one of the series editors or to oxford@peterlang.com.

Published Volumes

Simon Gatrell: Thomas Hardy Writing Dress

2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0739-0.

Anthony Patterson: Mrs Grundy’s Enemies: Censorship, Realist Fiction and the Politics of Sexual Representation

2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0887-8...

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