Lecture: Peter Middleton


Location: 140 DeBartolo Hall


The English Department is pleased co-sponsor the 2015 Reilly Center Lecture by Peter Middleton of the University of Southampton. The lecture, titled "Genetic Conditions at the Frontiers of Science and Metaphysics: Epigenetics and Literature," will take place Thursday, January 15, at 5:00 pm in 140 DeBartolo Hall.

Personal narratives on genetic disability suggest roles for the cultural work of fiction and poetry to further understanding of genetic identities. 

Peter Middleton explores genetic variation at the borders of science, culture, and metaphysics. He will draw on a recent poem and novel that display a drive to understand genetic information in terms of development and environment that is also evident in biological and medical research into epigenetics. He discusses different molecular biological models of epigenetic change focusing on how both epistemological and cultural consequences of new scientific developments likely to affect body, identity, and culture. He reflects on the uses of folk poetry to articulate hopes and fears about genetic disorders, and how para- literary texts create a backdrop against which literary aesthetics can be understood.

Peter Middleton is the author of the forthcoming book Physics Envy, about American poetry and science in the Cold War due to appear with Chicago UP later in 2015. He is also the author of books on poetry and performance, a co-authored book on memory, and a study of masculinity, as well as essays on modern poetry, and on literature and science, including climate change. He is currently the Secretary of the British Society for Literature and Science. Educated in both the United Kingdom and the United States, he is a Professor of English at the University of Southampton, UK. 

Co-sponsored by the Reilly Center, the Departments of English and Biological Sciences, and William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English.