Document Detail

Natural history's hypothetical moments: narratives of contingency in Victorian culture.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19824198     Owner:  HMD     Status:  MEDLINE    
This essay focuses on the ways in which works by Robert Chambers, Charles Darwin, and George Eliot encouraged readers to imagine the future as contingent. But where Chambers alludes to Charles Babbage's computational engine and the period's life insurance industry to hint at the role of contingency in natural history, Darwin insists on the importance of contingently determined outcomes to speciation. The "Origin" consistently exercises the reader's speculative energies by generating conditional statements, causal hypotheses, adn diverging alternatives. "Adam Bede" constitutes its characters' interior lives around the proliferation of such contingent narratives. To reflect on the future or on the past, these works suggest, demands a temporal, moral, and narrative complexity in one's thinking.
Tina Young Choi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Victorian studies     Volume:  51     ISSN:  0042-5222     ISO Abbreviation:  Vic Stud     Publication Date:  2009  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-10-13     Completed Date:  2009-11-16     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9426344     Medline TA:  Vic Stud     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  275-97     Citation Subset:  Q    
York Univ.
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MeSH Terms
Anthropology, Cultural / education,  history
Cultural Characteristics*
England / ethnology
History, 19th Century
History, 20th Century
Literature, Modern* / history
Narration* / history
Natural History* / education,  history
Social Behavior*
Social Class
Social Conditions / economics,  history

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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