Middlemarch

Influence of Darwin's "Origin of Species" on Literature 12th Grade

Charles Darwin is known for his profound influence of the study of evolution. However, his contributions to 19th century society go beyond his scientific theories; it is undeniable that Darwin affected what writers wrote about life and what critics wrote about literature. During his famous voyage on the Beagle, Darwin concluded that the physical world had been and still was subject to continuous change through the action of natural forces, and that man is the product of these forces. No book has so profoundly affected the modern view of man as Darwin’s The Origin of the Species (1859).

An intellectual ferment caused by evolutionary theory presented in The Origin of Species during mid- and late Victorian England led to an ongoing controversy over religion and science. While some hailed the revelation Darwin’s book explored, many resented it. It cast doubts on the traditional beliefs of the origin of life, essentially eradicated the need of a God, which was seen by some as ground-breaking and by others as blasphemous and unacceptable. He caused a sensation by refuting divine origin of man and suggesting man was a highly advanced and developed descendant of apes. Darwin shifted the teleological pattern of evolutionary theories,...

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