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Principles of species taxonomy were contested ground throughout the nineteenth century, including those governing the classification of humans. Matthew Rowlinson shows that taxonomy was a literary and cultural project as much as a scientific one. His investigation explores animal species in Romantic writers including Gilbert White and Keats, taxonomies in Victorian lyrics and the nonsense botanies and alphabets of Edward Lear, and species, race, and other forms of aggregated life in Darwin's writing, showing how the latter views these as shaped by unconscious agency. Engaging with theoretical debates at the intersection of animal studies and psychoanalysis, and covering a wide range of science writing, poetry, and prose fiction, this study shows the political and psychic stakes of questions about species identity and management. This title is part of the Flip it Open Programme and may also be available Open Access. Check our website Cambridge Core for details.
This chapter aims to unpack and provide a context for the puzzling amalgam of organicism and historicism to be found in the last lines of Tennyson's In Memoriam. In those lines, the poem prophesies the evolution of humankind into a ‘crowning race / […] / No longer half-akin to brute’ (‘Epilogue’ 128, 133). With respect to the time of this future race, ‘all we thought and loved and did, / And hoped, and suffered, is but seed / Of what in them is flower and fruit’ (134—6). The tense shift in line 135, which contemplates the events of the poem and the grief and hope it expresses both in the present and from a standpoint of historical retrospect, dramatizes a split temporality which I will argue both characterizes the poem as a whole and also ultimately comes to define its representation of Tennyson's dead friend Hallam, the elegy's subject. In the poem's final mention of him, Hallam appears with respect to the crowning race to come as ‘a noble type / Appearing ere the times were ripe’ (138—9). In spite of its reference to ripeness, and the mentions of seed, flower and fruit in the lines immediately preceding, the temporality in which these lines set Hallam is not that of the vegetative cycle but that of history.
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