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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 The development of Naden’s thinking is explored in detail, with newly discovered unpublished poems and notes from her adolescence shedding important light upon this progression.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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List of Abbreviations

Extract

Abbreviations

The following primary texts are referenced parenthetically using abbreviations:

CPW: The Complete Poetical Works of Constance Naden, ed. Robert Lewins (London: Bickers and Son, 1894)

FR: Further Reliques of Constance Naden: Being Essays and Tracts for our Times, ed. George M. McCrie (London: Bickers and Son, 1891)

I&D: Constance C. W. Naden, Induction and Deduction: A Historical and Critical Sketch of Successive Philosophical Conceptions Respecting the Relations Between Inductive and Deductive Thought and Other Essays, ed. R. Lewins (London: Bickers and Son, 1890)

Memoir: William R. Hughes, Constance Naden: A Memoir (London: Bickers and Son; Birmingham: Cornish Brothers, 1890)

N78–9: Constance Naden, Untitled Notebook [1878–79], Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, USS 115

P75: Poems; by Constance C. W. Naden. 1875, Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, USS 115

P75–7: Poems; by Constance C. W. Naden. 1875–6–7, Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, USS 115

In addition, the following abbreviations are used in footnotes:

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