Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction / Edition 3

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Overview

Gillian Beer's classic Darwin's Plots, one of the most influential works of literary criticism and cultural history of the last quarter century, is here reissued in an updated edition to coincide with the anniversary of Darwin's birth and of the publication of The Origin of Species. Its focus on how writers, including George Eliot, Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hardy, responded to Darwin's discoveries and to his innovations in scientific language continues to open up new approaches to Darwin's thought and to its effects in the culture of his contemporaries. This third edition includes an important new essay that investigates Darwin's concern with consciousness across all forms of organic life. It demonstrates how this fascination persisted throughout his career and affected his methods and discoveries. With an updated bibliography reflecting recent work in the field, this book will retain its place at the heart of Victorian studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The only problem with this book is deciding what to praise first. It draws on a breadth of knowledge in many fields, its literary readings are alert and original, it has a profound grasp of idea and form. It must be read by the scientist, the student of Victorian thought and art and the educated person in the street." Barbara Hardy, New Statesman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521743617
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 330
  • Sales rank: 1,440,896
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gillian Beer is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface to the first edition
Preface to the second edition
Introduction 1
Pt. I Darwin's language 23
1 'Pleasure like a tragedy': imagination and the material world 25
2 Fit and misfitting: anthropomorphism and the natural order 44
Pt. II Drawin's plots 71
3 Analogy, metaphor and narrative in The Origin 73
4 Darwinian myths 97
I Growth and its myths 97
II Growth and transformation 99
III Transformation, retrogression, extinction: Darwinian romance 114
Pt. III Responses: George Eliot and Thomas Hardy 137
5 George Eliot: Middlemarch 139
I The vital influence 139
II Structure and hypothesis 148
III The web of affinities 156
6 George Eliot: Daniel Deronda and the idea of a future life 169
7 Descent and sexual selection: women in narrative 196
8 Finding a scale for the human: plot and writing in Hardy's novels 220
Notes 242
Select bibliography of primary works 267
Index 273
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