Climate, Nature, and Global Geographies in Victorian Britain


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the Newberry Library during academic year 2009-2010


Like recent work in the geosciences that tracks climate change and its possible causes and consequences by examining centuries-old calcium deposits in mussel shells, this project samples British literature in order to pose—and to attempt to reposition—climate as an object of literary inquiry. Recent experiences of the effects of global warming have highlighted “climate” as a flashpoint for discussions about ecology and globalization. By exploring climate's rich history as an integral component of the literary and cultural imagination of Britain, this project reveals how climate became a shared, defining, and potentially volatile factor in discussions and discourses of race, geography, natural history, and British identity in the nineteenth century.