This collection is an interdisciplinary edited volume that examines the circulation of Darwinian ideas in the Atlantic space as they impacted systems of Western thought and culture. Specifically, the book explores the influence of the principle tenets of Darwinism -- such as the theory of evolution, the ape-man theory of human origins, and the principle of sexual selection -- on established transatlantic intellectual traditions and cultural practices. In doing so, it pays particular attention to how Darwinism reconfigured discourses on race, gender, and sexuality in a transnational context. Covering the period from the publication of The Origin of Species (1859) to 1933, when the Nazis (National Socialist Party) took power in Germany, the essays demonstrate the dissemination of Darwinian thought in the Western world in an unprecedented commerce of ideas not seen since the Protestant Reformation. Learned societies, literary groups, lyceums, and churches among other sites for public discourse sponsored lectures on the implications of Darwin’s theory of evolution for understanding the very ontological codes by which individuals ordered and made sense of their lives. Collectively, these gatherings reflected and constituted what the contributing scholars to this volume view as the discursive power of the cultural politics of Darwinism.

chapter |8 pages

Introduction: The Descent of Darwin in Atlantic Cultures


part |2 pages

Part I Genders and Sexualities

part |2 pages

Part II Race and Difference

chapter 6|17 pages

Rise and Fall: Degeneration, Historical Determinism, and CHRISTY A. CANNARIATO

ByWilliam Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom!

chapter 7|15 pages

What Is It? Difference, Darwin, and the Victorian Freak Show


chapter 9|19 pages

Selective Affi nities: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in Adventure

ByNovels by Jack London and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle HERBERT KLEIN

part |2 pages

Part III Colonization, Nation, and “Progress”