ARTICLE: Foreign Bodies; or, How Did Darwin Invent the Symptom?

From Victorian Studies:

Foreign Bodies; or, How Did Darwin Invent the Symptom?

Matthew Rowlinson

Abstract Beginning with a discussion of the sources in Darwin’s writing for Freud’s theory of the hysterical symptom, this essay proceeds to a symptomatic reading of Darwin himself. With reference to The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and The Expression of the Emotions, this essay shows that Darwin’s theories of involuntary expressive behavior and of aesthetic preference in sexual selection are linked by their role in his understanding of racial difference and also by their reliance on the idea that learned habits can be inherited as instincts, a view often identified with Lamarck. They are thus at once theories of the foreign body and theories that appear as foreigners within the body of Darwin’s work.

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