‘Aquatic Science and Gothic Waterscapes in the Victorian Novel.’

Kluwick, Ursula Maria (5 April 2019). ‘Aquatic Science and Gothic Waterscapes in the Victorian Novel.’ (Unpublished). In: British Society for the Study of Literature and Science 2019. Royal Holloway, London, United Kingdom. 4.-5-4-2019.

This paper focuses on the representation of water in both literary and non-literary Victorian texts. Even though in some respects this is well-trodden ground – particularly as regards pollution and sanitary science – I offer a new approach to nineteenth-century writing about water by foregrounding aquatic agency through a new materialist perspective. Despites its ubiquity and mundaneness, for scientists, water is a mysterious element: its anomalous physical properties are well known and remain partly unsolved. I am interested in how this atypical behaviour of liquid, solid, and vaporous H2O affects the literary representation of water, particularly when it comes to interactions between humanity and aquatic environments or phenomena. For Victorian writers, water was no inert matter, but an agential substance whose peculiar physical properties rendered it uncanny. I argue that this is foregrounded in representations of aquatic materialisation, particularly when water changes from one state into another. I propose the concept of ecological haunting as a tool for the analysis of such scenes, in which literature interdiscursively translates scientific knowledge into a gothic aesthetics.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures

UniBE Contributor:

Kluwick, Ursula Maria


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages




Ursula Maria Kluwick Kälin

Date Deposited:

19 Nov 2019 11:35

Last Modified:

19 Nov 2019 11:35



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