Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability by Gowan Dawson
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Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability
By Gowan Dawson

Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability

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Format: Hardback

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Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability by Gowan Dawson

Book Awards

  • Shortlisted for British Society for Literature and Science Book Prize 2007.

Book Description

The success of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theories in mid-nineteenth-century Britain has long been attributed, in part, to his own adherence to strict standards of Victorian respectability, especially in regard to sex. Gowan Dawson contends that the fashioning of such respectability was by no means straightforward or unproblematic, with Darwin and his principal supporters facing surprisingly numerous and enduring accusations of encouraging sexual impropriety. Integrating contextual approaches to the history of science with work in literary studies, Dawson sheds light on the well-known debates over evolution by examining them in relation to the murky underworlds of Victorian pornography, sexual innuendo, unrespectable freethought and artistic sensualism. Such disreputable and generally overlooked aspects of nineteenth-century culture were actually remarkably central to many of these controversies. Focusing particularly on aesthetic literature and legal definitions of obscenity, Dawson reveals the underlying tensions between Darwin's theories and conventional notions of Victorian respectability.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521872492
ISBN-10: 0521872499
Format: Hardback
(228mm x 152mm x 21mm)
Pages: 300
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 12-Apr-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...


Books By Author Gowan Dawson

Victorian Scientific Naturalism by Gowan Dawson Victorian Scientific Naturalism, Hardback (May 2014)

Examines the secular creeds of the generation of intellectuals who, in the wake of The Origin of Species, wrested cultural authority from the old Anglican establishment while installing themselves as a new professional scientific elite.

Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability by Gowan Dawson Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability, Paperback (February 2010)

Dawson reveals the underlying tension between Darwin's theories and conventional notions of Victorian respectability.

» View all books by Gowan Dawson

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Author Biography - Gowan Dawson

Gowan Dawson is Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Leicester.

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