Geology and paleontology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The still-new sciences of geology and paleontology rose to cultural prominence in the early decades of the nineteenth century, deepening the Victorians’ sense of their planet’s past. Canonical authors such as George Eliot, Charles Kingsley, and Alfred Tennyson wove this vertiginous new perspective into their work and thought. Literary scholarship on this topic has traditionally focused on geology’s interactions with evolutionary theory and its challenges to Christian doctrine in canonical fiction and poetry, but new intersections between literary criticism and history of science have widened the field dramatically. New perspectives include closer attention to the literary artistry of scientific nonfiction, geology’s implications for narratology, and the conjunction of literary form with paleontological reconstruction. This chapter highlights some of the most invigorating developments in all these areas, closing with a brief literary stroll down the path most traveled, geology’s role in the Victorian “crisis of faith.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature
EditorsDennis Denisoff, Talia Schaffer
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429507724
ISBN (Print)9781138579866
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2019


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