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 British literature, including Victorian Literature, Romantic 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 of Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel (Oxford University Press, 2007, 2003).  Her current book project, “Reverent Form: Natural History and Natural Theology in the British Novel, 1789-1867,” examines the relationship between natural history and the early-Victorian novel. Her essays most recently have appeared in Victorian Studies and Literature Compass.

Keynote address, “Reverent Form.”  VSAWC: Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 28, 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”: Periodical Natural History and Observation Guides,”  NAVSA, 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.” Darwin at 200: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, St. John’s University, February 12, 2009.

“Natural History and the Novel: Dilatoriness and Length in the 19th-Century Novel of Everyday Life,” Theories of the Novel Now Conference, Providence, RI, November 2007.

“Trollope’s Everyday: Natural History and Description in the Barsetshire Series,” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, 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.” ‘What’s New in Victorian Studies?’ Conference, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY, May 2004.

“Prospect and Particularity: A Genealogy of the Victorian Detail,” North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA), Bloomington, IN, October 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,” Science and Literature Studies (SLS) 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, Michigan State University, MI, April 2002.

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

“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 Landscapes of Courtship,” Modern Language Association, Washington, DC, December 1996. 

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

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


  • Victorian Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century Novel
  • Romantic Literature
  • Women and Literature
  • Introduction to English Studies
  • The Novel of Everyday Life


  • Monumental Form:  Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot, Trollope
  • Jane Austen Today
  • Nineteenth-Century British Novel
  • Victorian Science, Poetry, Prose


“Reverent Form: Natural History, the Theology of Nature, and the Novel in Britain 1789-1865.”


Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, 2007.


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

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

Articles & Reviews:

“Victorian Natural Science.” Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture.  Oxford UP, forthcoming 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 and the Victorian, ed Caroline Levine. Forthcoming 2013.

“Victorian Tidepools.” Special issue: Victorian Ecologies.  Victorian Review, Spring 2011.

“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.

“Natural History and the Novel: Dilatoriness and Length in the Nineteenth-Century Novel of Everyday Life.”Novel: A Forum on Fiction.  42.1/2 (Fall 2009)

“Toward a History of Novelistic Length: Dilatory Description and the Pleasures of Accumulation in White and Mitford,” Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century Novel, eds. Caroline Levine and Mario Ortiz-Robles.  Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Forthcoming 2009.

“Stillness: Alternative Temporalities in Nineteenth-Century Narrative,” ELN (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 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,” Blackwell’s Literature Compass: Victorian.  Vol. 4: 2007.
“Reorienting the Scientific Frontier: Victorian Tide Pools and Literary Realism,” Victorian Studies 47.2 (Winter 2005): 153-163.

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: SUNY Press, 2003:  255-270.

“Linnæus’s Blooms: Botany and the Novel of Courtship,” Eighteenth-Century Novel 1 (2001): 127 160.


Review, [Peter W. Graham, Jane Austen & Charles Darwin: Naturalists and Novelists], in Victorian Studies, forthcoming, Spring 2009.

Review, [Mary Ellen Bellanca, Daybooks of Discovery: Nature Diaries in Britain, 1770-1870], in Victorian Studies, 50:2, Winter 2008.

Review, [Colonial Botany: Science, Literature, and Politics in the Early Modern World, eds. Londa Schiebinger and Claudia Swan], in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, Winter: 2006.

Review, [Victorian Afterlife: Postmodern Culture Rewrites the Nineteenth Century], eds. John Kucich and Dianne Sadoff], in South Central Review 19.4 (2002).