Modernism and Eugenics: Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration

Synopsis

In Modernism and Eugenics, Donald Childs reveals how Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats believed in eugenics, the science of racial improvement, and adapted this scientific discourse to the language and purposes of the modern imagination. He traces the impact of the eugenics movement on such modernist works as Mrs. Dalloway, The Waste Land, and Yeats's late poetry and early plays. This is an original study of a controversial theme which reveals the centrality of eugenics in the life and work of several major modernist writers.