Evolution and Eugenics in American Literature and Culture, 1880-1940: Essays on Ideological Conflict and Complicity (Google eBook)

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Lois A. Cuddy, Claire M. Roche
Bucknell University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 285 pages
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Charles Darwin's theory of descent shook the foundations of Western thought and biblical authority and suggested that, like our animal progenitors, man is trapped by biological determinism and environment, which requires the fittest specimens to struggle and adapt without benefit of God in order to survive. The related principles of eugenics, which promoted progress through social engineering, also has profound implications and consequences. In this context, this volume focuses on how American literature--in representing, challenging, and critiquing culture--appropriated and aesthetically transformed these theories and, reciprocally, how literature was altered by these ideas. In exploring the extent and depth of these theories on genres and individual authors, the editors have included essays from different theoretical positions on canonical and non-canonical, black and white, female and male authors, (on race, class and gender issues), and on literature with different geographical settings and publications venues--essays that examine an American literary landscape inseparable from social attitudes and ideologies.
  

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Contents

Evolution Eugenics and Racial Ambiguity in William Dean Howellss Fiction
59
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Represents Lester F Ward
73
Dogs Wolves and Men
89
Poor White Humor in T S Striblings Teeftallow
102
The Origin of Story and the Survival of Character in Faulkners Absalom Absalom
116
Eugenics and the Fiction of Pauline Hopkins
133
Eugenic Ambivalence in Mary Austins Short Fiction
148
FeebleMinded White Women and the Spectre of Proliferating Perversity in American Eugenics Narratives
164
Dorothy Canfields Writings Vermont Tourism and the Eugenics Movement in Vermont
187
Eugenics and the Experimental Breeding Ground of Susan Glaspells The Verge
203
H Ds Eugenic Paganism
220
Erskine Caldwell and the Doctrine of Eugenics
240
Tillie Olsen Margaret Sanger and American Eugenics
259
List of Contributors
276
Index
279
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Page 49 - It is therefore probable that Africa was formerly inhabited by extinct apes closely allied to the gorilla and chimpanzee; and as these two species are now man's nearest allies, it is somewhat more probable that our early progenitors lived on the African continent than elsewhere
Page 18 - And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection
Page 39 - And when suddenly the music died, she dragged herself back to the present with a conscious effort; and a shameful certainty that not only had she been in the jungle, but that she had enjoyed it, began to taunt her. She hardened her determination to get away. She wasn't, she told herself, a jungle creature
Page 12 - science” of improving human stock by giving “the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable

About the author (2003)

Lois A. Cuddy is Professor Emerita of English and Women's Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Claire M. Roche is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rhode Island.

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