Darwin's Plots

Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Darwin's Plots

Gillian Beer's landmark book demonstrates how Darwin overturned fundamental cultural assumptions in his narratives, how George Eliot, Thomas Hardy and other writers pursued and resisted their contradictory implications, and how the stories he produced about natural selection and the struggle for life now underpin our culture. This second edition incorporates a new preface by the author and a foreword by the distinguished American scholar George Levine.


"The only problem with this book is deciding what to praise first. It draws on a breadth of knowledge in many fields, its literary readings are alert and original, it has a profound grasp of idea and form. It must be read by the scientist, the student of Victorian thought and art and the educated person in the street." Barbara Hardy, New Statesman

'Gillian Beer's superb study … a work of criticism that takes its modest place among the other 'cloudy triumphs' of English genius.' Michael Neve, Sunday Times

'Offers fresh insights into familiar themes in the history of science by dealing with them in quite a new way.' John Durant, The Times Literary Supplement