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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

ENGL 52.16 God, Darwin, and the Literary Imagination

The publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859 caused a crisis in religious faith. Evolution brought God to his knees, or so the story goes. Yet this claim over-simplifies the situation. It underestimates how the Christian God and evolutionary theory both shaped debates and structures of thought in the nineteenth century. How did these “divergent” systems of belief shape how people understood the world and their place in it? How did writers use religious faith and/or scientific evidence to structure narrative and tell new types of stories? How did Darwin and other scientists use literary techniques to convey their ideas to a widespread audience? This course emphasizes close reading as well as historical and scientific context, focusing on five themes that arose from the juxtaposition of God and Darwin in nineteenth-century British literature and culture: Creation and Design, Selection and Extinction, Heredity and Development, Time and Progress, and Human/Animal.


Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:TMV; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Department-Specific Course Categories

Course Group II