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Darwin and the Novelists: Patterns of Science in Victorian Fiction

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Cumbreland, Rhode Island, U.S.A. 1988 Hardcover New 0674192850. FLAWLESS COPY, BRAND NEW, PRISTINE-336 pages. Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches.

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Overview

Darwin’s theory thrust human life into time and nature and subjected it to naturalistic rather than spiritual or moral analysis. Insisting on gradual and regular–lawful–change, Darwinian thought nevertheless requires acknowledgment of chance and randomness for a full explanation of biological phenomena. George Levine shows how these conceptions affected nineteenth–century novelists—from Dickens and Trollope to Conrad—and draws illuminating contrasts with the pre–Darwinian novel and the perspective of natural theology.

Levine demonstrates how even writers ostensibly uninterested in science absorbed and influenced its vision. A central chapter treats the almost aggressively unscientific Trollope as the most Darwinian of the novelists, who worked out a gradualist realism that is representative of the mainstream of Victorian fiction and strikingly consonant with key Darwinian ideas. Levine’s boldly conceived analysis of such authors as Scott and Dickens demonstrates the pervasiveness and power of this revolution in thought and sheds new light on Victorian realism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674192850
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1988
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

George Levine is Kenneth Burke Professor of Literature and Director of the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture, Rutgers University. He has written on science and the history of science as well as on literature.
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Table of Contents


  1. Darwin among the Novelists

  2. Natural Theology: Whewell and Darwin

  3. Mansfield Park: Observation Rewarded

  4. Darwin's Revolution: From Natural Theology to Natural Selection

  5. Dickens and Darwin

  6. Little Dorrit and Three Kinds of Science

  7. The Darwinian World of Anthony Trollope

  8. The Perils of Observation

  9. From Scott to Darwin to Conrad: Revolution Not Evolution


  • Notes

  • Index

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