Darwin the Writer

Hardcover | July 30, 2011

byGeorge Levine

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Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, arguably the most important book written in English in the nineteenth century, transformed the way we looked at the world. It is usually assumed that this is because the idea of evolution was so staggeringly powerful. Prize-winning author GeorgeLevine suggests that much of its influence was due, in fact, to its artistry; to the way it was written. Alive with metaphor, vivid descriptions, twists, hesitations, personal exclamations, and humour, the prose is imbued with the sorts of tensions, ambivalences, and feelings characteristic ofgreat literature. Although it is certainly a work of "science," the Origin is equally a work of "literature," at home in the company of celebrated Victorian novels such as Middlemarch and Bleak House, books that give us a unique yet recognisable sense of what the world is really like, while not being literally'true'. Darwin's enormous cultural success, Levine contends, depended as much on the construction of his argument and the nature of his language, as it did on the power of his ideas and his evidence. By challenging the dominant reading of his work, this impassioned and energetic book gives us aDarwin who is comic rather than tragic, ebullient rather than austere, and who takes delight in the wild and fluid entanglement of things.

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Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, arguably the most important book written in English in the nineteenth century, transformed the way we looked at the world. It is usually assumed that this is because the idea of evolution was so staggeringly powerful. Prize-winning author GeorgeLevine suggests that much of its influence was du...

Now a visiting professor at Gallatin College, New York University, George Levine is Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University; where in almost forty years of teaching Victorian literature and the study of the relations between science and literature, he combined his own passion for nature with his literary scholarship. His Lifebirds is...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.8 inPublished:July 30, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199608431

ISBN - 13:9780199608430

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Table of Contents

1. Darwin, the Writer2. Learning to See: Darwin's Prophetic Apprenticeship on the Beagle Voyage3. The Prose of On the Origin of Species4. Surprise and Paradox: Darwin's Artful Legacy5. Darwinian Mind and Wildean Paradox6. Hardy's Woodlanders and the Darwinian Grotesque7. Coda: The Comic Darwin