Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America

Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America

by Cannon Schmitt

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Overview

Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America by Cannon Schmitt

When the young Charles Darwin landed on the shores of Tierra del Fuego in 1832, he was overwhelmed: nothing had prepared him for the sight of what he called 'an untamed savage'. The shock he felt, repeatedly recalled in later years, definitively shaped his theory of evolution. In this original and wide-ranging study, In this book Cannon Schmitt shows how Darwin and other Victorian naturalists transformed such encounters with South America and its indigenous peoples into influential accounts of biological and historical change. Redefining what it means to be human, they argue that the modern self must be understood in relation to a variety of pasts - personal, historical, and ancestral - conceived of as savage. Schmitt reshapes our understanding of Victorian imperialism, revisits the implications of Darwinian theory, and demonstrates the pertinence of nineteenth-century biological thought to current theorizations of memory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107412583
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/03/2013
Series: Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series , #66
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

Cannon Schmitt is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

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