The West Virginia University Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will present its 2013 Summer Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies June 6-9.

Dr. Richard Sha, professor of literature at American University, will lead the seminar “Romantic Science and the Romantic Imagination.” The event will officially begin with a free, public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, in 130 Colson Hall.

Registration is required for the rest of the seminar, which is open to students, faculty, and independent scholars. The seminar will include five two-hour sessions in Stalnaker Hall, concluding at noon on Sunday, June 9.

Romantic science and the Romantic imagination have long been understood as enemies. This seminar explores the reasons for the clash, and argues for a rethinking of both terms. Far from being objective, Romantic science reveled in the emotions and desires, so much so that matter was imagined as having feelings just like (and about) people. If the linkage of science and feeling gave science an ethics, however, it threatened to mire science in subjectivity. The Romantic imagination actually helped to develop the scientific method, forcing scientists to discipline their wayward speculations into something like knowledge.

Figures to be covered include Coleridge, Kant, Keats, Byron, the Shelleys, and the Scottish novelist Elizabeth Hamilton; as well as the scientists Joseph Priestley, Humphry Davy, and Michael Faraday. The aim of the seminar will be to think about what has been gained and lost by pitting science against imagination.

Seminar registration costs $280 for students and $380 for faculty and community members. Rooms for seminar attendees are available in accessible Stalnaker Hall. Participants can choose single or double occupancy. Local hotels are close by for those who prefer non-dormitory housing. For more information, visit

For more information, contact Adam Komisaruk, at 304-293-9724 or



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