Professor Gowan Dawson
BA (East Anglia), MA (Nottingham), PhD (Sheffield)
Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture
T: +44 (0)116 252 2779
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 Show Me the Bone: Reconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and 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. (Routledge, 2011–12), and editor of Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity (University of Chicago Press, 2014). He has also published articles on Dickens, Thackeray, Pater and D.G. Rossetti in Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, the Journal of Victorian Culture, English Literature in Transition 1880–1920 and Victorian Poetry. Professor Dawson is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Natural History Museum, and serves on the editorial boards of the British Journal for the History of Science, the Journal of Victorian Culture and Notes and Records of the Royal Society.
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.
- 'Show Me the Bone': Fossils, Palaeontology and Prehistoric Creatures in Nineteenth-Century British and American Culture
Professor Dawson is currently supervising the following students
Derek Ball – ‘George Eliot and Mathematics’
Richard Fallon – ‘The Production and Reception of Writing about Prehistoric Reptiles in the Nineteenth Century’ (AHRC funded)
Hayley Flynn – ‘Victorian Dream Theory and the Periodical Press’
Christopher Hiam – ‘Arthur Machen and Writers of the Welsh Diaspora in Late-Victorian London’ (AHRC funded)
Matthew Wale – ‘Victorian Natural History Journals’ (AHRC funded)
Teaching and Administration
Professor Dawson teaches on the following undergraduate and MA courses:
- EN3020: Literature 1789-1870 (convenor)
- EN3030: Literature 1870-1945
- EN3000 Evolution and Entropy: The Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Literature
- EN3128 Late Victorian Gothic: Texts and Context
- MA in Victorian Studies: Approaches to Victorian Literature and Culture
- MA In Victorian Studies: Evolution and Entropy: Representations of the Sciences in Victorian Literature
Professor Dawson is the School of Art’s Director of Research and the Director of the Victorian Studies Centre
Show Me the Bone: Reconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), pp. viii + 476 [ISBN 02-263-3273-4].
Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. xii + 282 [ISBN 05-218-7249-9]. Paperback edition 2010 [ISBN 05-211-2885-4]
With Geoffrey Cantor, Richard Noakes, Sally Shuttleworth, and Jonathan R. Topham, Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. xi + 329 [ISBN 05-218-3637-9]. Paperback edition 2008 [ISBN 05-210-4978-8].
Edited Books and Journals
Co-editor, with Geoffrey Cantor, The Correspondence of John Tyndall, vol. 1: 1840–43 (London: Routledge, 2015) [ISBN 1-84893-409-2].
Co-editor, with Bernard Lightman, Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014) [ISBN 0-226-10950-3].
General editor, with Bernard Lightman, Victorian Science and Literature, 8 vols. (London: Routledge, 2011–12) [ISBN 1-138765-791/805/813/821/832/848/856/864].
Associate editor, with Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor et al., Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (London: British Library, 2009) [ISBN 07-123-5039-X].
Co-editor, with Louise Henson, Geoffrey Cantor, Richard Noakes, Sally Shuttleworth, and Jonathan R. Topham, Culture and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Media (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004) [ISBN 0-754-63574-0].
Guest editor, with Sally Shuttleworth, Victorian Poetry, special number on ‘Science and Victorian Poetry’, 41 (2003) [ISSN 0042-5206].
‘Dickens, Dinosaurs, and Design’, Victorian Literature and Culture 44 (2016), 761–78 [ISSN 1060-1503].
With Sally Shuttleworth and Chris Lintott, ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries’, Journal of Victorian Culture 20 (2015), 246–54 [ISSN 1355-5502].
‘Paleontology in Parts: Richard Owen, William John Broderip and the Serialization of Science in Early Victorian Britain’, Isis 103 (2012), 637–67 [ISSN 0021-1753].
‘Literary Megatheriums and Loose Baggy Monsters: Paleontology and the Victorian Novel’, Victorian Studies 53 (2011), 203–30 [ISSN 0042-5222].
‘“By a Comparison of Incidents and Dialogue”: Richard Owen, Comparative Anatomy and Victorian Serial Fiction’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 11 (2010), http://www.19.bbk.ac.uk/index.php/19/issue/view/79 [ISSN 1755-1560].
‘Literature and Science under the Microscope’, Journal of Victorian Culture 11 (2006), 301–15 [ISSN 1355-5502].
‘Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean and the Discourse of Science in Macmillan’s Magazine: “A Creature of the Nineteenth Century”’, English Literature in Transition 1880–1920 48 (2005), 38–54 [ISSN 0013-8339].
With Jonathan R. Topham, ‘Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical’, Literature Compass 1 (2004) VI 056, 1–9 [ISSN 1741-4113].
‘Intrinsic Earthliness: Science, Materialism and the Fleshly School of Poetry’, Victorian Poetry 41 (2003), 113–29 [ISSN 0042-5206].
With Sally Shuttleworth, ‘Introduction: Science and Victorian Poetry’, Victorian Poetry 41 (2003), 1–10 [ISSN 0042-5206].
‘Stranger than Fiction: Spiritualism, Intertextuality, and William Makepeace Thackeray’s Editorship of the Cornhill Magazine, 1860–62’, Journal of Victorian Culture 7 (2002), 220–38 [ISSN 1355-5502].
With Sally Shuttleworth and Richard Noakes, ‘Women, Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century’, Women: A Cultural Review 12 (2001), 57–70 [ISSN 0957-4042].
‘“The Great O. versus the Jermyn St. Pet”: Huxley, Falconer, and Owen on Paleontological Method’, in Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity, ed. by Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), 27–54 [ISBN 0-226-10950-3].
With Bernard Lightman, ‘Introduction’, in Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity, ed. by Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), 1–24 [ISBN 0-226-10950-3].
‘Literature’ in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought, ed. by Michael Ruse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 436–42 [ISBN 0-521-19531-7].
‘“Like a Megatherium Smoking a Cigar”: Darwin’s Beagle Fossils in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture’, in Darwin, Tennyson and Their Readers: Explorations in Victorian Literature and Science, ed. by Valerie Purton (London: Anthem Press, 2013), 81–96 [ISBN 0-857-28076-3].
‘Science and Its Popularization’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1830–1914, ed. by Joanne Shattock (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 165–83 [ISBN 0-521-88288-5].
‘Aestheticism, Immorality and the Reception of Darwinism in Victorian Britain’, in Unmapped Countries: Biological Visions in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, ed. by Anne-Julia Zwierlein (London: Anthem Press, 2005), 43–54 [ISBN 1-843-31159-3].
‘Victorian Periodicals and the Making of William Kingdon Clifford’s Posthumous Reputation’, in Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, ed. by Sally Shuttleworth and Geoffrey Cantor (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 259–84 [ISBN 0-262-03318-6].
‘Contextualising the “War” Between Science and Religion’, in Reinventing Christianity: Nineteenth-Century Contexts, ed. by Linda Woodhead (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 239–50 [ISBN 0-754-616509].
‘Darwin Decentred’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (2014), 93–96.
‘All in the Family’, American Scientist 98 (2010), 80–81.
‘First Among Equals’, Times Literary Supplement, 9 January 2009, 7-8.
‘A New Window on the Victorians’, Nature, 10 July 2008, 165-66.
I have also published more than 25 book reviews.
‘On Richard Owen’s Discovery, in 1839, of the Extinct New Zealand Moa from Just a Single Bone’, BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History, extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, ed by. Dino Franco Felluga (2012)
‘The Predatory Ape: Sex, Simians and Society in Nineteenth-Century Europe’, podcast for Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2009)
With Geoffrey Cantor, Richard Noakes, Sally Shuttleworth, and Jonathan R. Topham, Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Online Index, v. 3.0 (hriOnline Publications <http://www.sciper.org>, 2007) [ISBN 0-9542608-7-2].