(Dis)Entangling Darwin: Cross-disciplinary Reflections on the Man and His Legacy

Charles Darwin’s curiosity had a remarkable childlike enthusiasm driven by an almost compulsive appetite for a constant process of discovery, which he never satiated despite his many voyages. He would puzzle about the smallest things, from the wonders of barnacles to the different shapes, colours and textures of the beetles which he obsessively collected, from flowers and stems to birds, music and language, and would dedicate years to understanding the potential significance of everything he saw.

Darwin’s findings and theories relied heavily on that same curiosity, on seeking and answering questions, however long these would take to clarify. His son Francis Darwin often recalls how “he would ask himself ‘now what do you want to say’ and his answer written down would often disentangle the confusion”. In fact, “disentangling confusions” seems to have been the driving force behind Darwin’s scientific pursuits, as he was struck with bewilderment when contemplating the luxuriousness of life. It was also the impetus for this book.

The true implications of Darwin’s legacy remain as controversial to the critics of our time as they were to his contemporaries. Darwin’s impact within and beyond the biological sciences is both daunting and exhilarating, and attests to the need for an interdisciplinary approach by remaining a challenge to many scholars in the most diverse fields. The recent revival of his theories has opened a Pandora’s box of different theoretical studies that are particularly receptive to exploring new and exciting angles of research.

Sara Graça da Silva is a Researcher at CETAPS (Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies, University of Porto) and IELT (Institute for the Study of Traditional Literature, New University of Lisbon). Her main research interests include Victorian literature and science, theories of sexuality and gender, Darwinism, and the evolutionary study of folktales. She has contributed to the Victorian Literature Handbook, the Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism, and Utopian Studies, amongst others.

Fátima Vieira is Associate Professor at the University of Porto, Chair of the Utopian Studies Society (Europe) since 2006, coordinator of research projects on utopian thought, author of a series of articles and editor of a number of volumes in the field of utopian studies, Shakespearean studies and cultural studies.

Jorge Bastos da Silva teaches in the Department of Anglo-American Studies, University of Porto. His main fields of research are English literature and culture, utopian studies and intellectual history. He has authored and edited books on English Augustan literature, the reception of Shakespeare in Portuguese Romanticism, utopianism, and symbolism in English Romantic poetry.

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ISBN: 1-4438-3732-6

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-3732-3

Release Date: 21st November 2012

Pages: 245

Price: £39.99