Rethinking the Human in the Darwinian Novel
Zola, Hardy, and Utopian Fiction

Niall Sreenan

Studies In Comparative Literature 51

Legenda

  2021

ISBN: 978-1-781888-47-6 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-781888-48-3 (paperback, 2022)

ISBN: 978-1-781888-49-0 (JSTOR ebook)

ModernEnglishFictionPhilosophy


In the 19th century and beyond, Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories have had a profound and wide-ranging impact on European culture, art, and literature. Initiating a revolution in thought that Freud believed was as significant as heliocentrism and psychoanalysis, Darwin challenged not only religious and scientific orthodoxies, but cast into doubt the very status of human knowledge and existence. This book re-examines the literary legacy of Darwinism in works by Thomas Hardy and Émile Zola as well as in a genealogy of Utopian fictions spanning the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, exploring how through literature humanity grapples with the trauma of its own demise at the hands of evolutionary biology. Drawing on an array of theoretical resources from Deleuzean bio-philosophy to psychoanalysis, Sreenan demonstrates how both literary Realism and Utopianism reflect a pessimism about the decentring of human existence, while straining to articulate a reparative and affirmative conception of human life after Darwin.

Niall Sreenan is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Modern Literature & Culture, King’s College London.

Bibliography entry:

Sreenan, Niall, Rethinking the Human in the Darwinian Novel: Zola, Hardy, and Utopian Fiction, Studies In Comparative Literature, 51 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2021)

First footnote reference: 35 Niall Sreenan, Rethinking the Human in the Darwinian Novel: Zola, Hardy, and Utopian Fiction, Studies In Comparative Literature, 51 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2021), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Sreenan, p. 47.

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Bibliography entry:

Sreenan, Niall. 2021. Rethinking the Human in the Darwinian Novel: Zola, Hardy, and Utopian Fiction, Studies In Comparative Literature, 51 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Sreenan 2021: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Sreenan 2021: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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