Darwinism in Argentina: Major Texts, 1845-1909

Overview

Darwinism in Argentina: Major Texts (1845-1909) brings together essays, letters, short-stories, and public lectures by travelers, scientists, writers, and politicians about Darwin and the theory of evolution in nineteenth century Argentina. This selection of texts provides a thorough overview of the socio-ideological implications of the theory of evolution in South America, as well as the intellectual debate this scientific theory promoted in the discourses of fiction, law, ...

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Darwinism in Argentina: Major Texts (1845-1909)

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Overview

Darwinism in Argentina: Major Texts (1845-1909) brings together essays, letters, short-stories, and public lectures by travelers, scientists, writers, and politicians about Darwin and the theory of evolution in nineteenth century Argentina. This selection of texts provides a thorough overview of the socio-ideological implications of the theory of evolution in South America, as well as the intellectual debate this scientific theory promoted in the discourses of fiction, law, history, and medicine in the formation of modern Argentina.

Some writers in this book considered the theory of evolution to be Argentinean because Darwin first conceived his theory traveling in the Beagle, across “the big cemetery of glyptodont and megatherium fossils” on the pampas and in Patagonia.

This anthology includes texts from William H. Hudson, Francisco Muñiz, Florentino Ameghino, Eduardo Holmberg, Domingo F. Sarmiento, Hermann Burmeister, the Perito Moreno, Leopoldo Lugones, José María Ramos Mejía, and José Ingenieros, among others. Many of these texts have not been translated to English or reprinted until this edition, which was originally published with fewer texts in Spanish in 2008. Leila Gómez’s introduction reconstructs the historical-scientific contexts of the Darwinist debate in Argentina, the role of paleontology as modern discipline in South American countries, and the tensions between metropolitan and local scientific knowledge.

Both the anthology and the introduction present a panorama of Darwin and evolution in Argentina, and the complex mechanism of inclusion and exclusion of indigenous, African descendants, mestizos, and immigrants in the modern nation. Darwinism in Argentina provides critical perspectives on evolutionism in South America that will interest students and specialists in literature, history, and science.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Gómez (Latin American literature, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) has compiled and edited essays, letters, and fiction from an eclectic group of writers including Charles Darwin and contemporary Argentinean scientists and men of letters. These excerpts highlight the actual controversy that took place in Argentina between supporters and opponents of evolution after publication of the Origin (1859), and contrasts it with a fictional feud between Darwinists and anti-Darwinists, first portrayed in Eduardo Holmberg's novel Two Parties in Conflict (1875). That work pictured an elderly Darwin revisiting Argentina to explain his theory to both groups; this is not entirely credible because after Darwin returned to England, he did not travel far and shunned controversy. When Darwin's ideas reached Argentina, the foundations of scientific and "sociological" thought in Argentina were shaken. Gómez suggests that the confrontation between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Henry Huxley in 1860 at Oxford University—meetings Darwin scrupulously avoided, leaving Huxley to battle the anti-Darwinians alone—assisted in the dissemination of Darwinism. The observations of William Henry Hudson concerning the pampas woodpecker and Darwin's responses perhaps are the most relevant natural history passages included here. This anthology is best suited for scholars of Latin American literature. Summing Up: Recommended.
Choice
Gómez (Latin American literature, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) has compiled and edited essays, letters, and fiction from an eclectic group of writers including Charles Darwin and contemporary Argentinean scientists and men of letters. These excerpts highlight the actual controversy that took place in Argentina between supporters and opponents of evolution after publication of the Origin (1859), and contrasts it with a fictional feud between Darwinists and anti-Darwinists, first portrayed in Eduardo Holmberg's novel Two Parties in Conflict (1875). That work pictured an elderly Darwin revisiting Argentina to explain his theory to both groups; this is not entirely credible because after Darwin returned to England, he did not travel far and shunned controversy. When Darwin's ideas reached Argentina, the foundations of scientific and "sociological" thought in Argentina were shaken. Gómez suggests that the confrontation between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Henry Huxley in 1860 at Oxford University—meetings Darwin scrupulously avoided, leaving Huxley to battle the anti-Darwinians alone—assisted in the dissemination of Darwinism. The observations of William Henry Hudson concerning the pampas woodpecker and Darwin's responses perhaps are the most relevant natural history passages included here. This anthology is best suited for scholars of Latin American literature. Summing Up: Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611483864
  • Publisher: Bucknell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/16/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.42 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Leila Gómez is associate professor of Latin American Literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Table of Contents

Sources and Acknowledgments vii

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xi

Introduction: Darwin, the Heart of the Controversy: Science, Politics, and Literature 1

I The First Readers of On The Origin of Species in Argentina: The Dialogue between Darwin and Muñiz, and the Controversy with Hudson 31

The Woodpecker of the Pampas William Henry Hudson 35

The Response Charles Darwin 39

The Muñi-Felis Bonaerensis Francisco Javier Muñiz 41

A Letter to Muñiz Charles Darwin 49

Ñata Oxen Domingo F. Sarmiento 51

II Scientific Fantasies: Darwin's Followers and Detractors in Argentina 59

Two Parties in Conflict Eduardo L. Holmberg 65

Charles Robert Darwin Eduardo L. Holmberg 79

The Study of South American Man Francisco P. Moreno 95

Darwin: Lecture Given in the Teatro Nacional, Following the Death of Charles Darwin Domingo F. Sarmiento 113

Luz del Día's Pilgrimage Juan Bautista Alberdi 139

History of Creation Hermann Burmeister 149

Remembrance in Honor of Darwin: Transformism as an Exact Science Florentino Ameghino 157

Tribute to Ameghino Leopoldo Lugones 173

Naturalism and Education José Manuel Estrada 189

Leopoldo Lugones,Yzur 193

III Darwin and the Shaping of Argentine Identity: Historical-Sociological Studies 201

The Argentine Masses José María Ramos Mejía 207

Our America Carlos O. Bunge 217

The Sociological Evolution of Argentina: From Barbarism to Imperialism José Ingenieros 231

Racial Conflict and Harmony in the Americas Domingo F. Sarmiento 245

Bibliography 259

Index 267

About the Editor 275

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