By David Bradshaw

This concise spouse bargains an leading edge method of figuring out the Modernist literary brain in Britain, concentrating on the highbrow and cultural contexts, which formed it. bargains an leading edge method of realizing the Modernist literary brain in Britain. is helping readers to know the highbrow and cultural contexts of literary Modernism. Organised round modern principles resembling Freudianism and eugenics instead of literary genres. Relates literary Modernism to the overarching problems with the interval, comparable to feminism, imperialism and struggle.

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These people are a sex of their own . . They have invented a new gender. ” For Sylvester, the “Advancement of Woman” is the flipside of “the Decay of Man” (Grundy 1894: I, 1). Biological determinism would prove a powerful counter-narrative to the emerging freedoms of the fin de siècle. From the early nineteenth century onward a newly emergent biology allowed pronouncements on sex to be made with greater certainty, and femininity, with its apparent attendant traits – care, maternity, morality – was increasingly biologized.

The spaces between Darwinism and Social Darwinism would prove fertile ground for the emergence of contradictory theories and agendas. Political groups of all persuasions had a field day, finding in Darwin’s ideas justification for competition as well as cooperation. By 1904, speaking before the Sociological Society with Charles Booth, the businessman, shipowner, social investigator, and author of Life and Labour of the People in London (17 vols. 1889–1903), in the chair, the evolutionary biologist and sociologist Patrick Geddes would stress the importance of tapping contemporary enthusiasm for eugenics, the self-conscious control of human evolution through selective breeding (see Chapter 2 in this volume): 10 The Life Sciences Since Comte’s demonstration of the necessity of the preliminary sciences to social studies, and Spencer’s development of this, still more since the evolution theory has become generally recognised, no one disputes the applicability of biology to sociology.

Biology and Sociology There were several camps in the evolutionary debates, but the precise makeup and goals of these camps shifted during the course of the nineteenth century, as various biological and social agendas modified, concurred, and diverged. Biology is uniquely positioned among the sciences. : “A theory about the stars never becomes a part of the being of the stars . . we become what we think of ourselves” (1965: 7). Biology is not overtly concerned with social transformation but, perhaps because it shares with other sciences a claim to enjoy a value-free objectivity, its potential to change how we perceive ourselves is even greater.

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