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Romanticism at the Royal Institution

A half-day symposium in association with the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar and the Fordham Romanticism Group, New York

'Scientific Researches. New Discoveries in Pneumatics' by James Gillray (1802)
The Royal Institution

Event description

Founded in 1799, the Royal Institution became the home of science education and the site of scientific discoveries and technological innovations which changed the world. In its early years, this remarkable scientific agenda was accompanied by an equally impressive programme of literary education, as luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Campbell and Sydney Smith took to the lecture podium to dazzle the fashionable male and female audiences of London with the latest advances in literary criticism and aesthetics. Science, poetry and philosophy combined in the work of the ‘chemical philosopher’ Humphry Davy and his literary friends, making the Royal Institution a centre of Romanticism as well as a focal point of the thriving public lecture culture of the time. This half-day symposium with talks by leading scholars will restore the forgotten literary history of the Royal Institution and highlight its unique interdisciplinary contribution to British Romantic culture. 

The event will conclude with a wine reception to celebrate the launch of Sarah Zimmerman’s new book The Romantic Literary Lecture in Britain (Oxford University Press), based partly on research done at the Royal Institution. 

This event is free and open to everyone.Organised in association with the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar and the Fordham Romanticism Group, New York.



13.30  Registration14.00  Welcome      14.15  David Duff (Queen Mary University of London) Announcing Knowledge: Prospectuses at the Royal Institution14.45  Hattie Lloyd Edmondson (Science Museum) Rulers of Opinion: Women at the Royal Institution, 1799-181215.15  Sharon Ruston (Lancaster University) Humphry Davy: Poet and Reader of Poetry15.45  Tea and coffee16.15  Seamus Perry (University of Oxford) Coleridge in the Lecture Theatre16.45  Frank James (Royal Institution) The Very Young Humphry Davy17.15  Sarah Zimmerman (Fordham University, New York) Thomas Campbell at the Royal Institution17.45  Tour of Royal Institution 18.30  Wine reception and book launch20.00  FinishOrganisers:David Duff Zimmerman  Zimmerman@fordham.eduSponsored by: The London-Paris Romanticism Seminar consortium, the Fordham Romanticism Group, Fordham Universoty, Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Institution of Great Britain.For further information about the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar, visit or email