By Tina Gianquitto
While a lot has been written concerning the effect of Darwin’s theories on U.S. tradition, and numerous scholarly collections were dedicated to the technological know-how of evolution, few have addressed the explicit information of Darwin’s theories as a cultural strength affecting U.S. writers. America’s Darwin fills this hole and lines a number of severe techniques that study U.S. textual responses to Darwin’s works.
The students during this assortment signify quite a number disciplines—literature, heritage of technological know-how, women’s stories, geology, biology, entomology, and anthropology. All pay shut recognition to the explicit types that Darwinian evolution took within the usa, enticing not just with Darwin’s most famed works, resembling On the foundation of Species, but additionally with much less normal works, akin to The Expression of the feelings in guy and Animals.
Each contributor considers certain social, cultural, and highbrow stipulations that affected the reception and dissemination of evolutionary suggestion, from ahead of the e-book of On the foundation of Species to the early years of the twenty-first century. those essays have interaction with the categorical information and language of a big variety of Darwin’s texts, treating his writings as fundamental assets necessary to comprehending the influence of Darwinian language on American writers and thinkers. This cautious engagement with the texts of evolution allows us to work out the huge issues of its attractiveness and adoption within the American scene; this strategy additionally highlights the ways that writers, reformers, and others reconfigured Darwinian language to fit their person purposes.
America’s Darwin demonstrates the various ways that writers and others healthy themselves to a story of evolution whose dominant motifs are contingency and uncertainty. jointly, the authors make the compelling case that the translation of evolutionary conception within the U.S. has continually shifted when it comes to triumphing cultural anxieties.
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Additional resources for America's Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Culture
The Darwinistic thinker James most often criticized was Herbert Spencer. In “Great Men and Their Environment” (1881), one of his most important engagements with evolutionary theory, James refers to Spencer’s “‘philosophy’ of evolution” as “a metaphysical creed, and nothing else,” which permits James to suggest that one might want not so much to disprove Spencer’s theory as to “raise [one’s] voice in protest against its disguising itself in ‘scientiﬁc’ plumes” (“Great Men,” 645, 646). James’s disparagement of Spencer and other “irresponsible” or “simple-minded” Darwinistic thinkers is closely connected to his dislike of deterministic philosophies.
Bell’s book was a work of natural theology that attempted to illustrate how God had designed emotional expression as a way to communicate shame and other moral feelings. Darwin admired Bell for his careful observations and his attempt to treat the study of emotional expression as “a branch of science” (Expression, 7). Darwin’s aim in Expression, however, was to show the evolutionary connections between animal expression and human expression and to establish the study of emotion as a fully scientiﬁc project, not a religious or moral one, by emphasizing the physical and by using naturalistic explanations of those physical manifestations.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Edward Caudill, Darwinism in the Press: The Evolution of an Idea (New York: Routledge, 2009); Carl N. Degler, In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought, rev. ed. (Boston: Beacon, 1955); and Ronald L. : Harvard University Press, 1998). 3. Robert D. Richardson, William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism (Boston: Houghton Miﬄin, 2006), 48–49.
America's Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Culture by Tina Gianquitto