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Incest and Influence
     

Incest and Influence

by Adam Kuper
 

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Like many gentlemen of his time, Charles Darwin married his first cousin. In fact, marriages between close relatives were commonplace in nineteenth-century England, and Adam Kuper argues that they played a crucial role in the rise of the bourgeoisie. This groundbreaking study brings out the connection between private lives, public fortunes, and the history of imperial

Overview

Like many gentlemen of his time, Charles Darwin married his first cousin. In fact, marriages between close relatives were commonplace in nineteenth-century England, and Adam Kuper argues that they played a crucial role in the rise of the bourgeoisie. This groundbreaking study brings out the connection between private lives, public fortunes, and the history of imperial Britain.

Editorial Reviews

American Scientist

Incest and Influence presents a richly detailed and fascinating picture of the distinctive family life of the Victorian bourgeoisie.
— Gowan Dawson

Washington Times

[A] thoughtful, revealing [book] about the kind of networking that existed long before the Internet, flourishing in the 19th century... [Kuper's] anthropological analysis results in sociological conclusions that are very revealing about culture—scientific, political, economic, social-scientific—in the Victorian age. Here is one scholar who is fearlessly far-ranging in his scope.
— Martin Rubin

Times Literary Supplement

Adam Kuper brings an anthropologist's understanding to what he calls "one of the great neglected themes" of social and literary history: the preference of the English bourgeoisie for marriage with relatives...He traces clans of bankers and merchants, dynasties of barristers, judges, clergymen, bishops, top civil servants, writers, scientists and thinkers—an urban elite. His thesis is that kin networks provided the basis for the consolidation of the bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century, and that marriage within the family was a strategy.
— Norma Clarke

Horace Freeland Judson
Adam Kuper, perhaps the most original of anthropologists working in the present day, has turned from the study of African tribes to scrutinize cousin marriages and other consanguineous unions from Jane Austen's characters to the Darwin family and on throughout the great families of the Victorian era--and has come up with a startling and irresistible contribution to nineteenth-century social history.
Washington Times - Martin Rubin
[A] thoughtful, revealing [book] about the kind of networking that existed long before the Internet, flourishing in the 19th century... [Kuper's] anthropological analysis results in sociological conclusions that are very revealing about culture--scientific, political, economic, social-scientific--in the Victorian age. Here is one scholar who is fearlessly far-ranging in his scope.
Times Literary Supplement - Norma Clarke
Adam Kuper brings an anthropologist's understanding to what he calls "one of the great neglected themes" of social and literary history: the preference of the English bourgeoisie for marriage with relatives...He traces clans of bankers and merchants, dynasties of barristers, judges, clergymen, bishops, top civil servants, writers, scientists and thinkers--an urban elite. His thesis is that kin networks provided the basis for the consolidation of the bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century, and that marriage within the family was a strategy.
American Scientist - Gowan Dawson
Incest and Influence presents a richly detailed and fascinating picture of the distinctive family life of the Victorian bourgeoisie.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674054141
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
612 KB

What People are Saying About This

Adam Kuper, perhaps the most original of anthropologists working in the present day, has turned from the study of African tribes to scrutinize cousin marriages and other consanguineous unions from Jane Austen's characters to the Darwin family and on throughout the great families of the Victorian era--and has come up with a startling and irresistible contribution to nineteenth-century social history.
Horace Freeland Judson
Adam Kuper, perhaps the most original of anthropologists working in the present day, has turned from the study of African tribes to scrutinize cousin marriages and other consanguineous unions from Jane Austen's characters to the Darwin family and on throughout the great families of the Victorian era--and has come up with a startling and irresistible contribution to nineteenth-century social history.

Meet the Author

Adam Kuper is a Fellow of the British Academy.

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