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dc.contributor.authorMcCullough, Anna
dc.identifier.citationMcCullough , A 2023 , ' The folklore of evolution in Andrew Lang's writings ' , Journal of Victorian Culture , vol. Advance Articles , vcad041 .
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0009-0006-2198-5816/work/146010905
dc.description.abstractThis article builds upon Bernard Lightman and Peter Bowler’s works on the non-Darwinian nature of Victorian evolution, arguing that while their arguments helpfully reorient our understanding of evolution’s historiography, they underestimate the diversity of evolutionary theory in the Victorian era. Victorian evolution was highly idiosyncratic, as each individual (scientist, author, or reader) interpreted evolution according to his or her own preconceptions, resulting in a myriad of evolutionary theories. To illustrate this diversity, this article examines the work of Andrew Lang, a prolific late-nineteenth-century journalist, anthropologist, and fairy-tale enthusiast. I focus on two of his largely unstudied works to demonstrate how he exposed and critiqued Victorian assumptions about evolution and the origins of the theory. The first work, ‘Higgins, the Inventor of Evolution’ (1897), uses satire to reveal that evolution’s theoretical history was often overlooked in the nineteenth century. The second, The Princess Nobody (1884), is a children’s fairy tale that exemplifies how fairy-tale tropes can help modern readers grasp evolutionary ideas. Significantly, both works recycle older texts that also address evolutionary questions, making Lang a participant in a folkloric tradition of interpreting and critiquing evolutionary theory. Lang viewed evolutionary theory as similar to a mythic story that is told and reinterpreted through the generations. His writing demonstrates that the origins of evolutionary theory are ambiguous, and that traditional fairy tales convey ideas about human origins and kinship with animals that predate Darwin’s studies.
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Victorian Cultureen
dc.subjectAndrew Langen
dc.subjectFairy talesen
dc.subjectPZ Childrens literatureen
dc.titleThe folklore of evolution in Andrew Lang's writingsen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. University of St Andrewsen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Englishen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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