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Modernist Life Histories

Biological Theory and The Experimental Bildungsroman

Daniel Aureliano Newman

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Reflects contemporary paradigm shifts in embryology and evolutionary theory through formal experimentation in the modernist Bildungsroman

Modernist Life Histories explores how new models of embryonic development helped inspire new kinds of coming-of-age plots during the first half of the twentieth century. Focusing on novels by E. M. Forster, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley and Samuel Beckett, the book links narrative experiments with shuffled chronology, repeated beginnings and sex change to new discoveries in the biological sciences. It also reveals new connections between the so-called Two Cultures by highlighting how scientific ideas and narratives enter the literary realm.

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List of illustrations
1. Bildung, Biology and the Narrative Structure of Development
2. A Portrait of the Artist as a ‘Biologist in Words’: Language, Epiphany and Atavistic Bildung
3. Mendelian Inheritance, ‘Eternal Differences’ and Entropy in Howards End
4. ‘Tampering with the Expected Sequence’: Heterochrony and Sex Change in Orlando
5. Anachrony, Neoteny and the ‘Education of an Amphibian’ in Eyeless in Gaza
6. Beginning again: Darwin’s Caterpillar from George Eliot to Beckett

About the Author

Trained in biology, Daniel Aureliano Newman researches and teaches modern and contemporary literature, with a focus on Literature & Science and narrative theory. His research has appeared in several literary and scientific journals including Style, Journal of Narrative Studies, Twentieth-Century Literature, Oikos and American Journal of Botany.

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