MONO-POLY: C19th Taxonomies of the One and the Many

23rd March at 6 PM:   ‘Individuals and Crowds’

Presenters:   Rowan Boyson (KCL) and Oscar Cox-Jensen (KCL)

Rowlandson The Ballad Singer 1789

Rowlandson, The Ballad Singer (1789)


Rowlandson, The Ballad Singer (1789)  (above)

‘Law for the Poor’, Examiner, June 1836   ‘Law for the Poor’ Examiner 19 June 1836

Extract from Wordsworth, Book 7, The Prelude (1850)  Wordsworth Prelude 1850

Nancy Rose Marshall,   City of Gold and Mud:  Painting Victorian London (Yale University Press, 2012), chapter 2, ‘The Whirl and Rush of Humanity’    Marshall City of Gold 2015

Extracts from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Hamish Hamilton, 2005)  Hardt and Negri, Multitude Extracts

Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20


Next session: The ‘Mono-Poly Symposium’

Friday 26th May 2-6pm

Speakers will include Lynda Nead (Birkbeck) and Jonathan Sachs (Concordia University, Montreal)

Full programme to follow

MONO-POLY is a series of discussions organized by Flora Willson ( and Josephine McDonagh (


 Jacques-Ignace Hittorff, L’Architecture polychrôme chez les Grecs (Paris, 1851).

In this series we will consider the reach and significance of the taxonomy of mono versus poly – one versus many– in nineteenth-century thinking and cultural forms. From monochromy to monodrama, from polytheism to polygenesis, monomania, monodies, and monosyllables, mono/poly seems to pervade all kinds of intellectual and cultural production. The questions we will address include: was this emphasis on one and many new for the nineteenth century, or were earlier periods similarly drawn to its organisational potential? Is there any significant symmetry between the diverse formations of mono and poly? Or are they independent and self contained? And how might the discursive formation of mono/poly relate to the question of the individual and the crowd (if at all)? Finally, does mono/poly offer an alternative way to make meaningful connections across diverse cultural forms in the nineteenth century and disciplinary boundaries in the twenty-first?

For full programme, see