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Charles Darwin’s Looking Glass

The Theory of Evolution and the Life of its Author in Contemporary British Fiction and Non-Fiction


Dominika Oramus

The book offers a comparative analysis of diverse Darwinism-inspired discourses such as post-modern novels, science fiction, popular science and nature films. Analysing the uses of the evolutionary discourse in recent literature and films, the study demonstrates how natural science influences the contemporary humanities and how literary conventions are used to make scientific and popular-science texts intelligible and attractive. Charles Darwin’s Looking Glass shows how and why today’s culture gazes upon the myth of Darwin, his theory, and his life in order to find its own reflection.
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Earlier versions of three of the essays included here were presented at the conferences From Queen Anne to Queen Victoria. Readings in 18th- and 19th-century British literature and culture, organized by Professors Emma Harris and Grażyna Bystydzieńska in 2011 and 2013, and at the 2013 conference of the Polish Association for the Study of English organized by Professors Małgorzata Grzegorzewska, Dorota Babilas, and Paweł Rutkowski.

Some of the other essays were published in the periodicals Anglica, Acta Philologica, and The New Review as well as in We the Neo-Victorians, a volume of essays edited by Dorota Babilas and Lucyna Krawczyk-Żywko. Some were written originally for this book. The references are included in the bibliography.

I am very much indebted to Philip Earl Steele of Podkowa Lesna who read the manuscript at various stages of its development and saved me from many foolish errors.

My research for all the essays was supported by a grant from the National Science Centre.

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