Cultural Perspectives on Evolution in Greece
Maria Zarimis, University of New South Wales, Australia
Darwin’s Footprint examines the impact of Darwinism in Greece, investigating how it has shaped Greece in terms of its cultural and intellectual history, and in particular its literature.
The book demonstrates that in the late 19th to early 20th centuries Darwinism and associated science strongly influenced celebrated Greek literary writers and other influential intellectuals, which fueled debate in various areas such as ‘man’s place in nature’, eugenics, the nature-nurture controversy, religion, as well as class, race and gender.
In addition, the study reveals that many of these individuals were also considering alternative approaches to these issues based on Darwinian and associated biological post-Darwinian ideas. Their concerns included the Greek “race” or nation, its culture, language and identity; also politics and gender equality.
Zarimis’s monograph devotes considerable space to Xenopoulos (1867-1951), notable novelist, journalist and playwright.
“Maria Zarimis’ book is a thorough and in-depth analysis of how mainstream Western scientific ideas found their way into the planning of the modern Greek society through the intermediation of literature. In this sense it strongly contributes to various academic fields, expanding from literary studies and history of science to social history and cultural studies. Furthermore, it contributes to the discussion of travelling concepts and of the role intellectuals hold in this process, while at the same time sheds light onto the multiple ways transnational history is formed.” -
Antonis Liakos, Professor of Contemporary History and History of Historiography, University of Athens
“The original and significant contribution this book makes to scholarship in its field derives from the fact that so little has been written, so far, about the influence of Darwin’s writings and Darwinism on Greek literary and social culture. Thus the manuscript opens up an area of study that has been sadly neglected in Greek cultural life.” -
Peter Bien, Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College
340 pages including 15 black-and-white, and color illustrations, 2015
CEU Press Studies on the History of Medicine, Vol. 6.
978-963-386-077-9 cloth $60.00 / €45.00 / £38.00;
978-963-386-100-4 paperback $35.00/ €27.00 / £22.00
List of Illustrations / Preface / Acknowledgements / Note on Transliterations / Introduction General Reception of Darwinism in Greece / Chapter One. Evolutionary Theories / Darwinism / Lamarckism / Neo-Darwinism / New Synthesis / Social Implications of Evolutionism / Darwinism in Literature and Criticism / The Future of the Race / Chapter Two. The Darwinian Impact on Modern Greek Writers / “Dock” and “Voltaire” / Emmanuel Roidis / Kostis Palamas / Nikos Kazantzakis / Alexandros Papadiamantis / Chapter Three. Darwinian Reflections: Children’s Guidance / Science and Positivism / Heldreich and Gradualism / The Gender Divide / Science and Religion / Physiognomies and Expressions / Chapter Four. A Rereading of Rich and poor: It’s in the Eyes / Literary Criticism, the “Note,” and Prologue / Physiognomy, Expressions, and Natural Selection / The Eyes―Mirror of the Soul? / Chapter Five. Metamorphoses of Woman: Dangerous Fantasies / Xenopoulos’ Comments / Literary Criticism on Tereza Varma-Dacosta / Transforming Tereza / Extinction / Chapter Six. New Woman Biology, Degeneration/Regeneration, and The Descent of Man / The New Woman, Degeneration/Regeneration: The Case for The Three-Sided Woman / The night of degeneration / Epilogue / Addendum The Female Sex’s Handbook / Appendix Poem: “Δαρβίνος” and Its English Translation / Poem: “Τόπο αλλάζει” and Its English Translation / Bibliography / List of Illustrations
CEU Press Studies in the History of Medicine
"Although Darwin’s name will conjure up in most readers’ minds a familiar assortment of venerable historic figures, Zarimis immediately indicates in Darwin’s Footprint that her subjects will not be any of these old friends. Indeed, her translated titles and quotations appear to be, in almost all cases, the only existing access, for those lacking Greek language skills, to this fascinating area of Greek scientific and literary culture. Her goal is ‘to unveil how Darwinism formed a part of the Greek intellectual and cultural life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries’. Zarimis convincingly develops what she sees as the previously uneven analyses of Darwinian and eugenic perspectives on Greek literary culture in this period. The book progressively narrows in scope, first situating Darwin and evolutionary theory as debated by Greek literati at the turn of the century, before moving on to Zarimis’s primary focus, the prolific author Grigorios Xenopoulos, and his complex deployment of evolutionary and eugenic themes." - The British Society for Literature and Science