Evolution and

Evolution and "the Sex Problem": American Narratives during the Eclipse of Darwinism

by Bert Bender

Product Details

Kent State University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: In a Dark Time1
"Man's Place in Nature," Life Itself, and the Sex Problem8
Aspects of the Sex Problem12
Modern Psychology and the Sex Problem16
1Frank Norris on the Evolution and Repression of the Sexual Instinct30
Joseph Le Conte's Version of Darwinian Theory and His Emphasis on Sexual Reproduction32
Norris's Battle with the Theory of Sexual Selection35
Norris and the Repression of the Sexual Emotions47
2"The Chaos of His Brain": Evolutionary Psychology in The Red Badge of Courage52
Crane and William James56
Evolutionary Progress, the "Throat-Grappling Instinct," and the Emotions57
Sexual Selection and the "Law of Battle"62
3Jack London and "the Sex Problem"72
London's Early Explorations of Sexual Selection: A Daughter of the Snows, The Kempton-Wace Letters, and The Sea-Wolf73
Martin Eden and The Valley of the Moon: Havelock Ellis, Freud, and the Ecological Vision78
The "Bawling of Sex" in The Little Lady of the Big House91
4Theodore Dreiser, Science, and "It"116
The Problem and Solution: The Evolutionary Tangle and Evolutionary Progress119
Carrie's Choice and the "Distant Wings" of Beauty121
"A Real Man-A Financier"126
5"The Varieties of Human Experience": Sexual Intimacy, Heredity, and Emotional Conflict in Gertrude Stein's Early Work135
Heredity and Female Choice in The Making of Americans (1903)138
Q.E.D.: The Howling Wolves of Love140
"The Nature of Woman" in Fernhurst: The "Deepening Knowledge of Life and Love and Sex"146
Three Lives: Anna's "Strange Coquetry of Anger and Fear"148
"The Gentle Lena": The Tyranny of Matchmakers and the Father-Instinct153
Melanctha: "Too Complex with Desire"155
6Sex and Evolution in Willa Cather's O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark163
Creative Evolution and Sex166
Marie and Alexandra: Beyond Sexual Selection in O Pioneers!168
"Dreamers on the Frontier"172
Sexual Desire in The Song of the Lark176
Sex and Sublimation in The Power of Sound179
Sexual Selection, Marriage, and Evolutionary Play181
7"Under the Shell of Life": Sherwood Anderson and "the Call of Sex"189
The Darwinian Pattern in Anderson's Fiction194
Sexual Difference: "The Maleness of the Male"195
Sexual Difference: The Woman "Strong to Be Loved"200
Reflections of Freud and Havelock Ellis in Anderson's Presentation of Sex207
"The Hidden Wonder Story": The Unconscious and Anderson's Transcendental Naturalism Sexual Violence, Play of Mind, and Transcendence in Winesburg, Ohio216
8"His Mind Aglow": The Biological Undercurrent in Fitzgerald's Gatsby and other Works224
"Love or Eugenics"225
The Riddle of the Universe: Accident, Heredity, and Selection226
Sexual Selection in The Great Gatsby232
9Harlem, 1928: The Biology of the Black Soul and the "Rising Tide of Rhythm"244
W.E.B. DuBois's Dark Princess: The Talented Soul250
Jessie Fauset's Plum Bun: A "Biology [that] Transcends Society!"257
Nella Larsen's Quicksand: Darwin, James, Freud, and the Psychology of Mixed Race264
Claude McKay's Home to Harlem: The "It's a Be-Be Itching Life" Blues272
Rudolph Fisher's The Walls of Jericho and the "Rising Tide of Rhythm"283
10V.F. Calverton and the Principles of Red Love298
11"To Be Alive": John Steinbeck's The Log from the Sea of Cortez and The Wayward Bus312
The Log from the Sea of Cortez: Ecology and Man's Place in Nature315
Sweetheart's "Rear End" and the Marriage Problem in The Wayward Bus320
12"Night Song": Africa and Eden in Hemingway's Late Work329
Courtship and Anthropology in Africa333
Dark Eden342
Works Cited362

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