ARTICLE: “Darwin and the popularization of evolution” by Bernard Lightman

Forthcoming in print but available freely online now [abstract, PDF]:

Bernard Lightman, “Darwin and the popularization of evolution” Notes & Records of the Royal Society 2009.

Abstract Evolution was popularized from 1860 to 1900 in the USA and Britain in a wide variety of media. Here I investigate traditional texts associated with the intellectual elite, including philosophical or scientific monographs, sermons, and published lectures. Evolution was rarely popularized in ways that reflected Darwin’s major contribution to biology, his theory of natural selection. This meant that the reading audience more often encountered an alternative to Darwin’s naturalistic, non-directional and non-progressive evolutionary perspective. There were at least four different versions of evolution circulating in the period from 1860 to 1900, and only one conformed to Darwin’s vision.

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