Dr C.C. Barfoot and Dr Valeria Tinkler are planning to edit a volume of essays on Science and Literature, partly based on papers given at the Leiden October Conference in 1999 but also upon new commissions.

Even before the Renaissance provoked a new appetite for scientific investigation, such characters as wizards and alchemists stirred the imaginations of poets and romancers. However, from the beginning of the seventeenth century onwards the notion of organized scientific experimentation gathered support and strength and this stimulated sympathy as well as reaction amongst writers. At the beginning of the century, John Dryden was one of the early members of the Royal Society. But although Dryden’s Augustan successors, Pope and Swift, were deeply critical of the role that science was beginning to play, poets and essayists, theologians and philosophers were increasingly influenced by the ideas of Newton and others throughout the eighteenth century. This culminated in such associations of manufacturers and scientists, preachers and poets as the Lunar Society. Indeed, it could be argued that the early stages of Romanticism were inspired both by current science and earlier literature. Ever since that period, science and literature have been regarded at different times as deadly rivals or as creative collaborators. This conference will attempt to deal with as many aspects of this relationship as possible from the Middle Ages to the present day. Contributors are invited to deal with any of these issues either in a general theoretical way or with very specific instances in mind: ideally article will combine the general with the particular in illuminating ways, focusing on specific case histories, perhaps, and on the relationship of individual writers to science and of certain scientists to literary figures of their day. Large issues and small should be put under the microscope; and literary history and scientific history jointly surveyed.

Prospective contributors to the volume are invited to submit proposals for articles (a topic and title at least, and, if possible, a 100-150 word summary) by 1 October 2005 (although later proposals may still be considered) to Dr C.C. Barfoot: [email protected].