Embracing a capacious definition of the long nineteenth century, the Nineteenth-Century Centre at the University of Birmingham provides a collaborative network for scholars working across traditional disciplinary, national, and temporal boundaries.
In addition to hosting regular events of interest to our members, we aim to mobilise the rich resources of the West Midlands - a region at the heart of nineteenth-century developments in industry, science and the arts - to support both research and teaching.
Our staff teach and research across the full range of the long nineteenth century, from the Romantic period to the fin de siècle.
Three major themes run throughout our work. The first is the concept of authorship, considering how writers in the nineteenth century saw their own role as authors. Case studies within the department, linked to major new editorial projects, include work on Charles Lamb, George Meredith, Oscar Wilde and Henry James, as well as work on authors’ networks and correspondence across the century. The second is the relationship between literature and the visual arts. Work at this interface within the department runs from the eighteenth century to the present. In the nineteenth century it centres in particular on the Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic movements, looking at their poetry and art criticism alongside their paintings, sculpture and design. The third strand is research into the relationship between literature and science. Here our work includes work on literary and scientific institutions, from museums to the periodical press, on literary forms including poetry and science fiction, and on scientific theories, including Darwinian and non-Darwinian theories of evolution.