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Evolution and Victorian Culture
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Book description

In this collection of essays from leading scholars, the dynamic interplay between evolution and Victorian culture is explored for the first time, mapping new relationships between the arts and sciences. Rather than focusing simply on evolution and literature or art, this volume brings together essays exploring the impact of evolutionary ideas on a wide range of cultural activities including painting, sculpture, dance, music, fiction, poetry, cinema, architecture, theatre, photography, museums, exhibitions and popular culture. Broad-ranging, rather than narrowly specialized, each chapter provides a brief introduction to key scholarship, a central section exploring original insights drawn from primary source material, and a conclusion offering overarching principles and a projection towards further areas of research. Each chapter covers the work of significant individuals and groups applying evolutionary theory to their particular art, both as theorists and practitioners. This comprehensive examination of topics sheds light on larger and previously unknown Victorian cultural patterns.

Reviews

'[The editors] rearticulate one of our most persistent discussions in a provocative new light … [this book] will be useful on the shelf of anybody who cares about the complex fabric of evolution and the ways in which we attempt to understand it.'

Will Tattersdill Source: The British Society for Literature and Science (bsls.ac.uk)

'What this volume does so well is to demonstrate the real range and complexity of Victorian evolutionary ideas, although we need to recognize that, with only a few notable exceptions, the non-Darwinians believed themselves to be Darwinian through and through.'

Piers J. Hale Source: Isis

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