Dr Jed Mayer

English Department
State University of New York New Paltz

Research interests

  • Science and literature,
  • ecopoetics,
  • anti-vivisection,
  • natural history,
  • evolution

Jed Mayer specializes in ecopoetics and representations of the non-human in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature. He has published on the ethical impact of Darwin 's theories on 19th-century culture and is currently researching the relationship between eco-politics and animal rights in late-19 th century culture.

His current book project, Scientific Dominion: Vivisection in Victorian Culture, explores scientific, ecological, and political debates surrounding the nonhuman animal in nineteenth-century culture and will be completed in early 2008.  Challenging historical representations of antivivisection and animal rights movements of the later-nineteenth century as marginal or eccentric, this study emphasizes the central role played by animal rights advocates in Victorian culture. Focusing on influential cultural figures like John Ruskin, Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carroll, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins, Frances Power Cobbe, and Vernon Lee, Scientific Dominion contextualizes animal rights discourses within the century's growing opposition to industrial and urban development and the ethical limitations of an increasingly professionalized scientific community. Scientific Dominion places the nonhuman animal at the center of human concerns as citizens of the “first industrial nation” came to redefine the place of the human within global development.

Selected Publications by Jed Mayer

Mayer, J. “Savoir vivre or savoir mourir”? : Ruskin, Vivisection and Scientific Knowledge. Nineteenth-Century Prose, ed. Sharon A. Weltman (Fall 2007).

Mayer, J. Germinating Memory: Hardy and Evolutionary Biology. Victorian Review 26.1 (2000): 82-97.