Topic 2 how did darwins writing initiate the

This preview shows page 3 - 5 out of 13 pages.

Topic # 2: How did Darwin’s writing initiate the transition from a romantic understanding of illness or physiognomy into a sociological understanding of illness as the result of a fragmented culture. How did Darwin’s writing influence the view of illness through a more scientific scope, in a move to realism? Darwin initiates a transition towards realism from romanticism. Not only does Darwin begin to look at illness as a hereditary condition, but also he demystifies nature as the callous selector of the most fit. o Romantics initially look at nature as a healing mother: “In nature and the language of the sense, / The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, / The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul / Of all my moral being.” (109- 1012 Wordsworth) o Nature seems to form a protective blanket, according to Wordsworth, that acts as the great healer, and can provide a source of relaxation, peace, and solace for a man away from the “wreathes of smoke” (18) o “And so with our hellish potions / we raged about these plains and mountains / and were more deadly than the plague” (Goethe 83) The people love Faust, but in self-embitterment he believes he did not deserve the people’s applaud and admiration; he said that they were practicing more alchemy than medicine, and made people worse than better Like Pechorin and Julien, Faust is enthralled by nature; perhaps Faust wants to finally enter a sanctuary full of life away from the disease ravaged areas from which he originates
Image of page 3

Subscribe to view the full document.

Faust endures a negative self-attitude, but an optimistic and positive attitude regarding nature because he believes the exploration of nature will make him a better person. o However, Darwin attempts to wean public “nursed on” romantic ideals of nature into a realistic understanding of the world: “Climate plays an important part in determining the average numbers of a species, and periodical seasons of extreme cold or drought, I believe to be the most effective of all checks. I estimated that the winter of 1854-55 destroyed four-fifths of the birds in my own grounds; and this is a tremendous destruction, when we remember that ten percent is an extraordinarily severe mortality from epidemics with man. The action of climate seems at first to be quite independent in the struggle for existence; but in so far as climate chiefly acts in reducing food, it brings on the most severe struggle between the individuals, whether of the same or of distinct species, which subsist on the same kind of food” (169 Darwin). o Darwin also refers to nature as “she” (177); he tries to redeem Nature as mother, but not convincingly. o Darwin moves the reader from the “placebo effect” of a romantic love of healing nature to a view of nature as a callous selector of the “most fit.” Ultimately this transition from a romantic view of nature to a realistic view of nature may be the ultimate matricide.
Image of page 4
Image of page 5
You've reached the end of this preview.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern