Thursday, November 18, 2010

Darwin and the Victorian Novel

Since we will soon begin our study of Our Friend the Charlatan, I though it would be interesting to make a list of some other late-Victorian novels which were influenced by Mr. Darwin for us to enjoy over the winter break while our minds are digesting all that we have learned about Darwin. Origin did greatly influence novelists of the period and their subsequent writings reflect their concern that the cause and effect that Darwin's theories will have on humanity in the present and the future. This is only a small list of novels that I have found, but each novel is widely available. As to whether or not the author is for or against Darwin or somewhere in the middle is entirely dependent on your own personal reading and interpretation of the text, but each novel does support one of the main points of our blog: that Darwin is awesome because he introduced the theory of evolution to the mainstream at the right point in time and got people talking about it and what better reflection of why Darwin is awesome then to see how his writings influenced the writings of the popular novelists of his time.

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (this is several decades earlier but she does talk about and reflect on Erasmus Darwin's theories)
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles or The Return of the Native or really anything by Thomas Hardy
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

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