The age of analogy : science and literature between the Darwins

Griffiths, Devin, 1978- author

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  • Creator Devin Griffiths
  • Format Books
  • Publication Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016. ©2016
  • Physical Details
    • x, 339 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9781421420769, 9781421420776, 1421420767, 1421420775
  • OCLC ocn945121150


  • Erasmus Darwin and his grandson, Charles, were the two most important evolutionary theorists of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. Although their ideas and methods differed, both Darwins were prolific and inventive writers: Erasmus composed several epic poems and scientific treatises, while Charles is renowned both for his collected journals (now titled The Voyage of the Beagle) and for his masterpiece, The Origin of Species. In The Age of Analogy, Devin Griffiths argues that the Darwins' writing style was profoundly influenced by the poets, novelists, and historians of their era. The Darwins, like other scientists of the time, labored to refashion contemporary literary models into a new mode of narrative analysis that could address the contingent world disclosed by contemporary natural science. By employing vivid language and experimenting with a variety of different genres, these writers gave rise to a new relational study of antiquity, or "comparative historicism," that emerged outside of traditional histories.


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
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