Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture by Jonathan SmithCharles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture by Jonathan Smith

Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture

byJonathan Smith

Paperback | June 22, 2009

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Although The Origin of Species contained just a single visual illustration, Charles Darwin's other books, from his monograph on barnacles in the early 1850s to his volume on earthworms in 1881, were copiously illustrated by well-known artists and engravers. Jonathan Smith explains how Darwin managed to illustrate the unillustratable - his theories of natural selection - by manipulating and modifying the visual conventions of natural history, using images to support the claims made in his texts. Moreover, Smith looks outward to analyse the relationships between Darwin's illustrations and Victorian visual culture, especially the late-Victorian debates about aesthetics, and shows how Darwin's evolutionary explanation of beauty, based on his observations of colour and the visual in nature, were a direct challenge to the aesthetics of John Ruskin. The many illustrations reproduced here enhance this fascinating study of a little known aspect of Darwin's lasting influence on literature, art and culture.
Title:Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual CultureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:378 pages, 9.72 × 6.85 × 0.79 inPublished:June 22, 2009Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521135796

ISBN - 13:9780521135795

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Table of Contents

1. Seeing things: Charles Darwin and Victorian visual culture; 2. Darwin's barnacles; 3. Darwin's birds; 4. Darwin's plants; 5. Darwin's faces I; 6. Darwin's faces II; 7. Darwin's worms; Bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

"It offers a fresh perspective on Darwin by juxtaposing insights into the publishing history of his books with interpretations, often compelling, of the images used to accompany the texts."
-Lucy Hartley, University of Michigan, Victorian Studies