Amy King

ProfessorDirector of Graduate Studies
PhD, 1998, Harvard University, English and American Literature and LanguageMA, 1993, Harvard University, English and American Literature and LanguageBA, 1990, Bates College, English

Amy King teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in nineteenth-century literature, including Victorian Literature, Modern World Literature, and the Nineteenth-Century Novel. Dr. King has published widely in the field of the nineteenth-century novel, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between literature and science in the period. Dr. King is the author most recently of The Divine in the Commonplace: Reverent Natural History and the Novel In Britian (Cambridge University Press, 2019, 2021).  She is also the author of Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel (Oxford University Press, 2007, 2003). She is a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot and The Oxford Companion to Victorian Literary Culture, and has written essays for journals such as Victorian Studies, NOVEL, Victorian Review, Common Knowledge, and BRANCH.



KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Invited Speaker.  “ ‘West Indies at Last!’ : Visions of Jamaica in the Natural Histories of Marianne North and Philip Henry Gosse.”  Victorians Institute, October 20-22, 2021. 

“Detail, Natural History, and a more Global Victorian: Marianne North and Philip Henry Gosse,” Northeast Victorian Studies Association, March 2019.

“The Theology of Nature, Reverent Empiricism, and John Ruskin's Modern Painters I,” NAVSA NYU/Purdue, NYU Florence, 17-20 May, 2017.

Invited Speaker, Victorian Literature and Culture Seminar, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University.  April 24, 2014

KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Invited Speaker.  “Seeing the Divine in the Commonplace: Seashore Natural History and the Mid-19th Century Realism of Gaskell and Eliot.”  Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, Vancouver, BC, April 26, 2013. 

“Evidence of Reverence:  Natural Histories of the ‘30s and the ‘Theology of Nature” NAVSA (North American Victorian Studies Association), Pasadena, CA October 2013. 

George Eliot in the Tidepools:  Seashore Natural History Networks of the 1850s,” NAVSA, Madison, WI, September 2012. 

“Reverent Form, Secularism, and the Nineteenth-Century British Novel,” Studies in the Novel Society Conference, Duke University, April 2012.

“Reverent Form and Secularism in the Victorian Moment.”  1 hour invited presentation to the CUNY VICTORIAN STUDIES SEMINAR, March 7th, 2012

“Seashore Natural History Networks of the 1850s: A Literary Perspective,” History of Science Society, Cleveland, Ohio, November 2011.

“ ‘The World of the Small’: or, how seeing is Believing in the Theology of Nature,” North American Victorian Studies Association, Montreal, Quebec, October, 2010.

“Reverent Form:  Elizabeth Gaskell’s Everyday.” The Victorian Everyday, North-East Victorian Studies Conference, Wellesley College, April, 2009.

“Darwin and the Victorian Literary Imagination.” Invited Lecture. “Darwin at 200: Interdisciplinary Perspectives,” St. John’s University, February 12, 2009.

“Natural History and the Novel: Dilatoriness and Length in the Nineteenth-Century Novel of Everyday Life,” Theories of the Novel Now—A Conference in Celebration of 40 Years of Novel, November, 2007.

“Trollope’s Everyday: Natural History and Description in the Barsetshire Series,” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference/ “Victorian Materialities,” Victoria, British Columbia, October 2007.

“Mary Mitford’s Paranaturalism:  Amateur Narratives of Natural History.”  INCS (Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Society), Kansas City, MO, April 2007.

“Trollope and the Everyday.” Annual Keynote Lecture. Trollope Society of North America, New York  NY,  October 2006.

“Stilled Habitats: Mitford, White, and Paranaturalist Time,” North American Victorian Studies Conference, Purdue University, September 2006.

“Stillness: Mitford, White, Austen,” Narrative Conference, Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, Louisville, KY, March 2005.

“Reorienting the Scientific Frontier: Victorian Tide-pools and Literary Realism,” North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA), Toronto, Ontario, October 2004.

“Natural History, Regimes of Induction, and the Victorian Detail,” Invited Lecture. What’s New in Victorian Studies? Conference, CUNY, New York, NY, May 2004.

“Prospect and Particularity: A Genealogy of the Victorian Detail,” NAVSA, Bloomington, IN, Oct 2003.

“Pansies and Faded Rosebuds: Austen’s Blooming Heroines Reworked,” Modern Language Association, New York, NY, December 2002

“Gilbert White and the Practice of Literary Detail,” Society for Science and Literature Conference, Pasadena, CA, October 2002.

“Austen’s Particularities: A Natural History of the Detail in Emma,” Narrative Conference, Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, East Lansing, MI, April 2002.

“Perception and Natural History: Or, How to Know What You See,” Narrative Conference, Society  for the Study of Narrative Literature, Houston, TX, March 2001.

Invited Lecture. “Fascinated in Spite of Herself: Organic Realism and George Eliot’s Adam Bede,”  University of California, Riverside, October, 2000.

“Taxonomical Cures: Herbalist Medicine and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Realism,” Victorians  Institute, Columbia, SC, October 2000.

“Seaweeds and Sorrel: Eliot, Courtship, and Taxonomical Realism,” Modern Language  Association, Chicago, IL, December 1999.        

“Scientific Taxonomy and Courtship Narratives,” Experience and Experiment: New York  University Victorian-Edwardian & Eighteenth-Century Studies Group Conference, New York, NY, February 1998.

“Lovers Walk: Public and Private Pleasures in the Eighteenth-Century Garden,” Anonymity Conference, Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, Harvard University, March 1997.

“Improving Grounds, Improving Complexions: Austen, Whately, and the Landscape of Courtship,” Modern Language Association, Washington, DC, December 1996.   

“The Sexual System: Linnæan Botany and the Later Eighteenth-Century Novel,” Northeast  Association for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Worcester, MA, September 1996.   

“Traversing the Bloom:  Representing Girlhood in James’ The Awkward Age and Wharton’s The House of Mirth,” American Studies Association, Nashville, TN, October 1994.

Undergraduate Course:
Victorian Literature; Romantic Literature; Nineteenth-Century Novel; 18th and 19th Century Women's Literature. Senior Seminar, "The English Novel and the Everyday," and "Memory, Selfhood, Representation"; Women & Literature; Introduction to English Studies; Modern World Literature

Graduate Courses (M.A. and D.A.):
"Doctoral Workshop, " "Everyday Life and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, " '1848", "Victorian Science, Poetry and Prose"; George Eliot"; "Nineteenth Century Novel:; "Jane Austen Today;" "Monumental Form: Trollope, Thackeray, Dickens, Eliot"

Graduate Supervision:
MA thesis, DA Comprehensive Exams & Dissertation Supervision



The Divine in the Commonplace: Reverent Natural History & the Novel in Britain. Cambridge UP, 2019, 2021 

Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel. Oxford UP, 2003, 2007 


Reverent Attention:  An Eco-Theological Claim for Close Reading the World and/as Text, in The Time of Close Reading: Victorian Fiction’s Presents, Debra Gettleman, Audrey Jaffe, Mary Ann O’Farrell, eds. Forthcoming 2023.

“Science and Religion,” The Cambridge Companion to Religion in Victorian Literary Culture, Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2023.

“George Eliot and Science,” The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot, Second Edition. Eds. George Levine and Nancy Henry. Cambridge UP, 2019.

“Victorian Natural Science and the Seashore.” The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture.  Ed. Juliet John. Oxford UP, 2016.

“Publication of Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne, 1789.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Frano Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.  Web. Published August 2013.

“Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose:  Friday Night Lights and Victorian Fictions of Provincial Life.” Special Issue of RAVON (Romanticism and Victorianism Online), Television for Victorianists, Ed. Caroline Levine. Number 63, April 2013.

“Dilatory Description and the Pleasures of Accumulation: Toward a History of Novelistic Length,” Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Eds. Caroline Levine and Mario Ortiz-Robles.  Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011.

“Tide Pools.” Special Issue: Natural Environments.  Victorian Review: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies. Volume 36, Number 2, F           

“Quietism and Narrative Stillness.”  Common Knowledge. Symposium: Apology for Quietism, Part 6. Volume 16, Issue 3, 2010.

“Natural History and the Novel: Dilatoriness and Length and the Nineteenth-Century Novel of Everyday Life.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction.  Volume 42, Number 3, 2009.

“Stillness: Alternative Temporalities in Nineteenth-Century Narrative,” English Language Notes, Special Issue, Time and the Arts, 46.1, Spring/Summer 2008.

Norton Edition of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, Ed. Thomas Recchio.  Reprint of “Taxonomical Cures: The Politics of Natural History and Herbalist Medicine in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton.” New York: Norton, 2008.

“Searching Out Science and Literature: Hybrid Narratives, New Methodological Directions, and Mary Russell Mitford’s Our Village,” Literature Compass, Vol. 4/5: 2007.                                                                 

“Reorienting the Scientific Frontier: Victorian Tide Pools and Literary Realism,” Victorian Studies Volume 47, Number 2 (Winter 2005).

“Taxonomical Cures: The Politics of Natural History and Herbalist Medicine in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton,” Romantic Science: The Literary Forms of Natural History, Ed. Noah Heringman. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2003.

“Linnaeus’s Blooms:  Botany and the Novel of Courtship.” Eighteenth-Century Novel 1 (2001).


Amy M. King (2020). Book Review. Novel Cultivations: Plants in British Literature of the Global Nineteenth Century, by Elizabeth Hope Chang (University of Virginia Press). Victorian Studies, Volume 6:3, Spring 2020.

Amy M. King (2020) Review. Laurie Frankel, This is How it Always Is.  Humanities Review, 16:1.

Amy M. King (2018) Review. Jim Endersby, “Deceived by Orchids: Sex, Science, Fiction and Darwin” (British Society for the History of Science, 49:2), Journal of Literature and Science, 11:1.

Amy M. King (2015) Review. Anne DeWitt, Moral Authority, Men of Science, and the Victorian Novel, Victorian Periodicals Review, 48:1.

Amy M. King (2015) Review. Gowan Dawson, Bernard Lightman, Eds, Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity. Nineteenth Century Contexts, 37:2.

Amy M. King (2009) Review. Peter W. Graham, Jane Austen & Charles Darwin: Naturalists and Novelists, Victorian Studies, 51:3.

Amy M. King (2008) Review. Mary Ellen Bellanca, Daybooks of Discovery: Nature Diaries in Britain, 1770-1870, Victorian Studies, 50:2.


Contributing Editor; Notes, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “In Memoriam A.H.H.” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Volume 5: The Victorian Era, Second Edition. Broadview Press, 2012.

Introduction and Notes.  Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters.  Barnes & Noble Classics, 2005.

Introduction and Notes. Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure.  Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003.