20 June 2014

Review: Darwin's Plots by Gillian Beer

Trade paperback, 294 pages
Published 2009 (originally 1983)
Previously read January 2010
Acquired and reread December 2012
Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction
by Gillian Beer

Early in my graduate school career I read the first edition of this; now I read the third for my generals. (There are no differences of substance, just a new preface for the second edition and a bonus essay for the third.) It's an excellent (dare I say seminal?) piece of literary criticism, forming a triumvirate with the works of Levine and Shuttleworth (though it's perhaps the one of three least directly relevant to my own research). The thing Beer does really well and importantly is treat Darwin's own writings as something worthy of literary study, not just historical documents.

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