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Darwin's Plots (second edition)

by Gillian Beer
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 312 pages.

Subtitled "Evolutionary narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and nineteenth-century fiction," Beer's classic work of literary criticism (first published in 1983) begins with a discussion of the literary influences on Darwin, manifest in his use of language and his narrative language strategy in the Origin, and then proceeds to consider Darwin's influence on nineteenth-century fiction, particularly the novels of George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. The reviewer for the New Statesman commented, "The only problem with this book is deciding what to praise first." The second edition (published in 2000) contains a new preface by the author and a foreword by George Levine.