Professor Gowan Dawson

dawson, gowanBA (East Anglia),  MA (Nottingham), PhD (Sheffield)

Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture

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Research Interests

Professor Dawson’s main research interests are in the nineteenth century, especially in the cultural history of Victorian science, as well as in the print culture of the period.

He is the author of Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and co-author of Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 2004).  With Bernard Lightman, he is general editor of Victorian Science and Literature, 8 vols. (Pickering and Chatto, 2011–12), and editor of Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity (University of Chicago Press, 2014).  He has recently completed a new book, Show Me the Bone: Reconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America, and has edited, with Geoffrey Cantor, the first volume of The Correspondence of John Tyndall (Pickering and Chatto, 2015).

In 2012/13 Professor Dawson held a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, and has also received research grants from the British Academy, the National Science Foundation (USA), the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  He is currently co-director, with Sally Shuttleworth and Chris Lintott, of the AHRC-funded project ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries’, an innovative collaboration between Leicester, Oxford University, the Natural History Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal Society.  The project, which was awarded a large grant of £1,975,000 in the AHRC ‘Science in Culture’ theme, examines how methods of communication and engagement developed in the nineteenth-century periodical press offer potential models for facilitating ‘citizen’ involvement in contemporary science.


Postgraduate Supervision

Professor Dawson would welcome postgraduate students (MA or PhD) with interests in any of the following areas of research:

  • Mid- to Late Victorian literature
  • Literature and science
  • Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic writing
  • Nineteenth-century journalism and print culture


Professor Dawson is currently supervising the following students

Derek Ball - 'Mid-Victorian mathematics and the novel: Comparing George Eliot with other novelists'

Teaching and Administration


Professor Dawson teaches on the following undergraduate and MA courses:


Professor Dawson is the School of English's Director of Teaching.  He also runs the Victorian Studies Centre spring seminar series.

Recent Publications

Internet links

Victorian Studies Centre

Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical ('SciPer') Project

British Society for the History of Science

British Society for Literature and Science

Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

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