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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873388092
  • Publisher: Kent State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/7/2004
  • Pages: 406
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction: In a Dark Time 1
"Man's Place in Nature," Life Itself, and the Sex Problem 8
Aspects of the Sex Problem 12
Modern Psychology and the Sex Problem 16
1 Frank Norris on the Evolution and Repression of the Sexual Instinct 30
Joseph Le Conte's Version of Darwinian Theory and His Emphasis on Sexual Reproduction 32
Norris's Battle with the Theory of Sexual Selection 35
Norris and the Repression of the Sexual Emotions 47
2 "The Chaos of His Brain": Evolutionary Psychology in The Red Badge of Courage 52
Crane and William James 56
Evolutionary Progress, the "Throat-Grappling Instinct," and the Emotions 57
Sexual Selection and the "Law of Battle" 62
3 Jack 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-Wolf 73
Martin Eden and The Valley of the Moon: Havelock Ellis, Freud, and the Ecological Vision 78
The "Bawling of Sex" in The Little Lady of the Big House 91
4 Theodore Dreiser, Science, and "It" 116
The Problem and Solution: The Evolutionary Tangle and Evolutionary Progress 119
Carrie's Choice and the "Distant Wings" of Beauty 121
"A Real Man-A Financier" 126
5 "The Varieties of Human Experience": Sexual Intimacy, Heredity, and Emotional Conflict in Gertrude Stein's Early Work 135
Heredity and Female Choice in The Making of Americans (1903) 138
Q.E.D.: The Howling Wolves of Love 140
"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-Instinct 153
Melanctha: "Too Complex with Desire" 155
6 Sex and Evolution in Willa Cather's O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark 163
Creative Evolution and Sex 166
Marie and Alexandra: Beyond Sexual Selection in O Pioneers! 168
"Dreamers on the Frontier" 172
Sexual Desire in The Song of the Lark 176
Sex and Sublimation in The Power of Sound 179
Sexual Selection, Marriage, and Evolutionary Play 181
7 "Under the Shell of Life": Sherwood Anderson and "the Call of Sex" 189
The Darwinian Pattern in Anderson's Fiction 194
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 Sex 207
"The Hidden Wonder Story": The Unconscious and Anderson's Transcendental Naturalism Sexual Violence, Play of Mind, and Transcendence in Winesburg, Ohio 216
8 "His Mind Aglow": The Biological Undercurrent in Fitzgerald's Gatsby and other Works 224
"Love or Eugenics" 225
The Riddle of the Universe: Accident, Heredity, and Selection 226
Sexual Selection in The Great Gatsby 232
9 Harlem, 1928: The Biology of the Black Soul and the "Rising Tide of Rhythm" 244
W.E.B. DuBois's Dark Princess: The Talented Soul 250
Jessie Fauset's Plum Bun: A "Biology [that] Transcends Society!" 257
Nella Larsen's Quicksand: Darwin, James, Freud, and the Psychology of Mixed Race 264
Claude McKay's Home to Harlem: The "It's a Be-Be Itching Life" Blues 272
Rudolph Fisher's The Walls of Jericho and the "Rising Tide of Rhythm" 283
10 V.F. Calverton and the Principles of Red Love 298
11 "To Be Alive": John Steinbeck's The Log from the Sea of Cortez and The Wayward Bus 312
The Log from the Sea of Cortez: Ecology and Man's Place in Nature 315
Sweetheart's "Rear End" and the Marriage Problem in The Wayward Bus 320
12 "Night Song": Africa and Eden in Hemingway's Late Work 329
Courtship and Anthropology in Africa 333
Dark Eden 342
Afterword 358
Works Cited 362
Index 376
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