Exciting day yesterday filming for a brand new series of TV documentaries on famous books & their stories, which involved filming all the way up on the University Church 😱 More green-haired book geekery coming your way in early 2020 – stay tuned! #litsci#histscipic.twitter.com/B5Vi0WXh3v
A new series of TV documentaries on famous books and their origins, manuscripts and authors will be hitting the screens in early 2020 – and last week we started filming for the first episode in Oxford, which is about the origins of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – and some, perhaps unexpected, links and sources (including what the University of Oxford’s crest has to do with Alice’s dream)! I am extremely honoured to appear on it as expert alongside collector and Carroll scholar extraordinaire Edward Wakeling.
The documentary will be available on French and German Television, and online after it’s aired, for those elsewhere! I will keep you posted on broadcast dates, and where to catch up with the programme, once I know more – stay tuned!
I was really excited that I got to talk about the architectural history of the museum, and it's scientific/cultural/artistic significance – as well as Lewis Carroll's role in the museum's history; also these views just don't get old! #histsci#litsci#scicommpic.twitter.com/UCrR2lb9te
The panel will fathom the multi-faceted role of Children’s and Young Adult Literature in addressing, digesting and communicating climate crisis across a range of periods and texts.
I will be presenting a paper entitled ‘Of Moths, Chimney-Sweepers and Silent Springs’, in which I will engage with how narrative forms for, or associated with, children have been used to articulate aspects of climate crisis and biodiversity loss, focusing on the example of insects, from the Victorian age to today. Framing this through Environmental Psychology, I will then examine their effectiveness in changing individual and social outlooks on crisis, but also their shortcomings, to show how we can harness their techniques in communicating better in our current moment of crisis.
I will speak alongside Dr Emily Alder (Edinburgh Napier) and Dr Chloe Buckley (Manchester Metropolitan), who will explore ‘Environmental crisis and children’s picture books’ and ‘Weird Ecologies, Precarity and Care in Young Adult Fiction’ respectively. We will be representing part of the ongoing work of the Edinburgh Napier-based Children’s Literature and Science research group.
A new writing group for Gothic & Fantasy ECR scholars & writers has been summoned into life by Dr Karen Graham & myself this week to bring together those of us who in the flurry of daily Stuff™ sometimes find it hard to find the space/time to write, which can also be a rather isolated/isolating exercise.
How’s this going to work? The idea is to post in the group & pair up with one or more buddy, and find a regular time-slot (anything from an hour, an hour-and a half or a writing day) to come together to write (and work on anything writing-related: be it an article, a journalistic piece, or a book). Next, arrange a quick meeting (in person, or via Skype) at the beginning, in which you set out writing goals, have your writing slot (60-90 mins), followed by, a) a quick break, and another session, or b) quick debrief at the end, where you reflect on, and evaluate progress, and set new goals – or even arrange for a subsequent swap-work-and-give-feedback session before your next writing session. I will also provide some guidance for structuring writing sessions or organise longer writing events, such as a writing retreat.
So, join, post in the group, say what you’re working on, and what sort of time-slot/regularity you’re after, connect with a buddy – and off you go! And please share!
If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting IT!
I am thrilled to have been invited to give a free lecture at Oxford’s Bodleian Library entitled “Timeless Alice: From the fourth dimension to climate change” on the 6th of July.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remains popular, indeed “timeless” – but what does this really mean? Follow Alice on a journey through Lewis Carroll’s contemplation of time, in an age of railways and theories of the fourth dimensions, and find out why that, to this day makes Carroll’s most famous novel the perfect vehicle for modern scientists to explain complex phenomena such as quantum physics, climate change and the unconscious.
This phenomenal-looking seminar on Children’s Literature and Science, and the many facets of the field, will be taking place this Friday at Edinburgh Napier University. I will be giving my first paper on my new research project on children’s literature and its role in environmentalism. If you’d like to attend please contact firstname.lastname@example.org – and definitely watch this space for more on this field from Edinburgh in the future!
The biannual IRSCL conference “Silence and Silencing in Children’s Literature” will take place at the University of Stockholm in August, and I am pleased that our panel on Children’s Literature and Science has just been accepted! It will cover ground from Morris to Moomins – and contain the following papers:
– Franziska Kohlt “Conversations with beetles: The struggle against Nature’s Silence in Victorian and contemporary CliFi for children – Jenny Willner “Cell biology and Melancholy in the Moomin Valley: Homsan, Haeckel and the Life of Protozoa” – Vera Kaulbarsch “Silence, Ghosts and Nature in Walter Benjamin’s Texts on Childhood”
In August I was extremely excited to be invited to shoot a little image film about my work on Victorian fantasy literature and science at Christ Church, Oxford. Christ Church kindly let me use some of Lewis Carroll’s own manuscript materials from their collection (have a look at some of their digitised items here) – including his photographs, proofs, sketches, letters, and his dedicated presentation copy of a first edition copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! I also speak about Victorian children’s literature’s ties to Victorian Science Communication & Education, about Victorian Lunatic Asylums – and Charles Dickens’s visit to one – and how all of that can change how we think about Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature in general – I hope you like it!
Oxford is well-known to have inspired Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), but the extensive influence of the Oxfordshire countryside on Through The Looking-Glass (1871) is less frequently discussed. My talk will therefore not only uncover some of these inspirations, from Oxford’s architecture to Oxfordshire’s agricultural history, but also illuminate how Lewis Carroll’s wider interest in nature, science and industry – and thus also the railways – shaped Through the Looking-Glass, and explore how this can help us approach and rethink contemporary challenges posed to the balance between nature and the necessities of modern life. (Announcements for the talk have appeared also here and here)
On the occasion of the bicentenary of Frankenstein I will be discussing our fascination with Gothic tales at the Birmingham Literature Festival together with contemporary Gothic and Horror writers Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney and Devil’s Day) and Jess Kidd (The Hoarder) who will also discuss and read from their latest books. The session will be chaired by Dr Serena Trowbridge.
I will be speaking about automata in the history of science and psychology, literature and popular culture alongside Simon Schaffer and Elly Truitt on BBC4’s ‘In Our Time’ program with Melvyn Bragg on 20 Septemeber 2018. The broadcast will be available afterwards on iPlayer. If you haven’t seen Compton Verney’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum yet, you should definitely go – and get the wonderful book accompanying the exhibition.