ARTICLE: Liberal Evolutionism and the Satirical Ape

A new article in the Journal of Victorian Culture:

Liberal Evolutionism and the Satirical Ape

Kate Holterhoff

Abstract This article considers intersections between the doctrines of mid-Victorian liberalism and biological evolution using 1860s caricatures and satires from Punch. In the years following the 1859 publication of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, caricatures featuring satirical apes illustrated mutually supportive cultural attitudes about politics and science. Ideas of character united the discourses of mid-Victorian evolutionism with liberalism, and the confluence of these ideas, or what I term liberal evolutionism, dramatized this overlap for Victorian culture. My project shows that the apes depicted in Punch were often intended as not only whimsical responses to the theories put forward by Darwin and Mill, they also point to the formation of the British subject.

‘Tis the season for evolving…

Here’s a collection of holiday items relating to Darwin and evolution that I’ve posted over the last 5 years or so…

Two holiday card options from Blag Hag:

Paleontologist Thomas Holtz penned “The Twelve Days of Darwin” for Darwin Day in 2009, but it seems appropriate for this time of year, too.

Colin Purrington has a Darwin ornament you can print out and fold then hang on your holiday tree:

Make a Charles Darwin Christmas ornament!

Tree from xkcd (a reader has pointed out that this cartoon is not about Darwin/evolution – I thought it was a phylogenetic Christmas tree – but rather a reference to mathematics – binary heap):


Some Darwin Santas:

Santa Darwin

Darwin Claus


Happy Holidays from gf Newland

Snowman evolution, from John Kerschbaum (via Jay Hosler):


Evolving tree:


chanukiah to christmas tree

Evolution of Santa:

The Heroes of Science ornament collection includes Darwin:

Heroes of Science: Set of 10 ornaments of your choice

Atheist Christmas Cards has a few of Darwin:

Darwin Atheist Christmas Cards Evolution of Tradition Secular Cards Humorous Atheist Snowman Christmas Cards

And finally, you could always just take a Darwin fish and place it on your tree: