CFP – Science and/or Poetry: Interdisciplinarity in Notebooks 

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Lancaster University – 26-27 July 2023

What role do notebooks play in the shaping of literary and scientific history? How and why should difficult-to-decipher manuscripts be interpreted, particularly when their contents cross genres, disciplines, and time periods? What is the relationship between poetry and science in notebooks? This two-day conference hosted by Lancaster University’s Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Davy Notebooks Project ( will question the nature of notebooks, considering how this complicated yet rich form constitutes both literary and scientific identities.

The Davy Notebooks Project is an ongoing effort to create an online, free-to-access digital edition of chemist and poet Sir Humphry Davy’s (1778-1829) surviving notebooks, which number around seventy-five in all. These manuscripts are especially interesting thanks to the wide range of genres they encompass, containing records of scientific experiments, poetry, geological observations, travel accounts, personal philosophy, and more. While Davy’s notebooks provide a starting point for our shared investigations, we hope this conference will include a broad range of speakers on the use and meaning of notebooks.

Paper topics may address but are not limited to:

•     Notebooks as a form or tool for thinking through experiments or works

•     Cross genres in …read more