Pseudo/Sciences of the Long Nineteenth Century
The next meeting of the group will take place at the Lit and Phil Library, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne on Wednesday 28 October between 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm.

Dr. Emily Alder, Edinburgh Napier University, will introduce a session entitled ‘Edith Nesbit’s Dreadful Researches’.

Edith Nesbit is best known for her children’s stories (Five Children and It, The Railway Children), but also wrote a number of supernatural and horror stories. We will read two of these, ‘The Three Drugs’ (1908) and ‘The Five Senses (1909), which explore ‘dreadful researches which tend to merge the chemist and biologist in the alchemist and the magician’ (‘Five Senses’). Ambitious scientists seek access to new and dangerous knowledge through chemical self-experimentation, with terrible results. Theoretically perfect, their experiments are hampered by the fallibility of human bodies and minds. We will also consider how the instrumental role of a medium’s body in the seance is translated into a laboratory setting, and related questions of how laboratories and seances worked to construct gender identities.

The readings for this session, and further information about the research group, can be accessed online.

Everyone is welcome. For more details visit the group online.


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Centre for Medical Humanities
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