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[Zoom] Distinguished Lecture Series – Prof. Ian Duncan (3 Feb 2021)
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  • Date 2021-01-16 21:54:37
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Topic: Distinguished Lecture Series:

Dickens’s Science of Monsters: The Natural History of Bleak House

Time: 3 February 2021  10:00 AM-12: 00 PM(Seoul)

 

 

In a review, Henry James accused Charles Dickens of populating his novels with "grotesque creatures" and "monsters," rather than with human beings. "Humanity," James complained, "is what men have in common with each other" – whereas Dickens's characters "have nothing in common with each other, except the fact that they have nothing in common with mankind at large." In fact, Dickens has a coherent view of character, one that is profoundly responsive to scientific theories of the mutability of organic life that were gaining ground well before the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. My lecture explores the affinities between the new science and Dickens's novel Bleak House – arguably his masterpiece, and the major evolutionist thought-experiment in English before Darwin.

 

Bio:

Ian Duncan is Florence Green Bixby Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, where he works on the novel, Scottish literature, Romanticism, and Victorian literature and culture. He is the author of Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution (Princeton University Press, 2019), Scott’s Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton University Press, 2007), and Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens (Cambridge University Press, 1992). He has co-edited Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and The Edinburgh Companion to James Hogg (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), and edited novels by Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle for Oxford World’s Classics (Oxford University Press). Duncan is a general editor of the Collected Works of James Hogg (Edinburgh University Press) and a monograph series, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Romanticism. He has taught at Yale University and the University of Oregon, and held visiting positions at the Universities of British Columbia and Konstanz, Boğaziçi University, LMU Munich, Princeton University, and Aix-Marseille University.


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