Darwin's Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution

By John Holmes | Go to book overview
Contents
Acknowledgementsvii
Prefacex
1Poetry in the Age of Darwin1
Science, poetry and literary criticism1
Whose ‘Darwinism’?6
The Darwinian tradition in modern poetry22
Poetry and Darwinism in practice: Three poems by Edwin Morgan27
2Poetry and the ‘Non-Darwinian Revolution’37
Non-Darwinian evolution in late Victorian poetry37
Pseudo-Darwinism and bad faith: A. C. Swinburne and Mathilde Blind46
Reading A Reading of Earth: George Meredith’s later poetry54
Doubting progress: Science and evolution in Tennyson’s last poems62
3God75
Darwinism, Christianity and theology75
Happenstance or design? Two sonnets80
Natural theology: Robert Browning’s ‘Caliban upon Setebos’84
God after Darwin: Three contemporary American poets and the Book of Job89
4Death102
Darwinism, death and immortality102
‘In the Woods’: George Meredith107
Death and dying: Robinson Jeffers116
Love and loss: Thomas Hardy121
5Humanity’s Place in Nature130
‘The exact centre’, or just another African ape?130
‘An idiot on a crumbling throne’: The cosmic perspective133
‘Earth’s catastrophe’: The planetary perspective139
‘All we’ve got’: The human perspective148

-v-

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Darwin's Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface x
  • 1- Poetry in the Age of Darwin 1
  • 2- Poetry and the ‘Non-Darwinian Revolution’ 37
  • 3- God 75
  • 4- Death 102
  • 5- Humanity’s Place in Nature 130
  • 6- Humans and Other Animals 154
  • 7- Love and Sex 185
  • 8- On Balance 226
  • Conclusion 260
  • Bibliography 263
  • Index 283
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