Seminars and Workshop

Seminars on Literature, Anthropology and Darwin.

21 of July of 2011. Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Auditório Paulo Cavalcante, Campus de Pesquisa (Av. Perimetral) Belém, Pará, Brazil. 01:30 to 05:30 p.m.

Workshop on Literature, Anthropology and Darwin.

22 of July of 2011. Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Auditório Paulo Cavalcante, Campus de Pesquisa (Av. Perimetral). Belém, Pará, Brazil. 01:30 to 17:30 p.m.



Sex, Horror and the Victorians: Anthropology and Nineteenth Century British Literature. Dr Matthew Brinton Tildesley, The University of Seoul, South Korea.

Workshops: Dr. Darwin and Mr. Stevenson.
These workshops will focus on two short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Olalla. Having watched Coppola’s excellent version of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire story, Dracula, students will explore the strange world of Stevenson’s vampiric Olalla. Set in 19th Century Spain, Olalla re-draws the boundaries of the classic vampire story, weaving contemporary fears of biological degeneracy into the classic Gothic pattern of a ghoulish return of ancient, aristocratic, Catholic monsters.

Following this lesser-known Stevenson story, the workshop will focus on Stevenson’s masterpiece of Victorian terror, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This psychological and biological horror story introduces whole new realms to the Gothic genre. Ancient British or continental Catholicism is replaced by the human body itself as the site for atavistic Gothic return, shattering the Victorian vision of a benevolent, progressive evolution. Divisions between the noble and the savage are utterly destroyed by Stevenson, as his ingenious tale uses Darwinian theories to terrify contemporary Imperial Britain. The workshops will be centered around discussion, and guided, close reading of the texts.

Workshop & final lecture: Anthropology and the Erotic Book Trade.

This final, short lecture will show how the “new science” of Anthropology came to the aid of publishers of erotica and pornography in mid-to-late Victorian Britain. In 1868, a change to the Obscene Publications Act sought to outlaw all works containing obscene images or text. However, the specific wording of the law gave rise to a whole new sub-genre of erotic literature which used anthropology as a cover for publishing erotic texts. Creative publishers, such as the infamous Anglo-Portuguese “Charles Carrington,” and the Londoner, Leonard Smithers, blurred the line between serious scientific texts and illicit erotic literature. As the legal definition of pornography put more emphasis on readers than the intent of the author or publisher of a work, attempts to define the sordid from the scientific, the low from the lofty, were at times quite comical.

The required text : Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror. London: Penguin, 2003 (or later)*.

*This contains Jekyll and Hyde and Olalla, and students should read these stories before attending the workshop.