Contact Address:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Mecke
Institut für Theoretische Physik
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Staudtstraße 7
91058 Erlangen
Phone: +49-9131-85 28441
Fax: +49-9131-85 28444

Contact Address:
Dr. Aura Heydenreich
Germanistik und Komparatistik
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Bismarckstraße 1b
91054 Erlangen
Phone: +49-9131-85 22978

Dr. Philipp Erchinger

The Art of Knowing in Victorian Writing: Science, Literature, Experiment
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


My current book project, provisionally entitled The Art of Knowing in Victorian Writing: Science, Literature, Experiment examines how ways and means of knowing are represented, enacted and debated in (and through) Victorian texts of various kinds. Thus, the project attempts to approach the study of Victorian literary history in a way that is not so much centred on discourses of established knowledge as on practices of investigating what is no longer or not yet knowledge (cf. Gamper, Geisenhanslüke, Bennett). More precisely, I seek to compare works of literature and science in the medium of what one might call the experimental field: the temporally extended space between the singular and the general as well as the unknown and the known which is constituted and cultivated through “processes of finding out and making sense” (Pickering, cf. Rheinberger, Latour). The writings under consideration include works of epistemology, natural history and philology alongside the ‘sensational’ detection plots of Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Braddon as well as the experimental poetry of Robert Browning, especially The Ring and The Book. What many of these texts have in common, I argue, is an interest in the techniques and technologies through which personal (individual) experience is translated into general (social) knowledge.