And, as architect of his own destiny, he might rise still further. Eugenics was developed by Darwin's cousin Francis Galton in the s. Embracing the idea of evolution, eugenists argued that through the judicious control of human reproduction, and the numerical increase of the middle class, Britain's supremacy in the world maintained. Born and bred among the competitive Victorian middle class, eugenics was a biologistic discourse on class. Aiming at 'racial improvement' by altering the balance of class in society, it was, Galton argued, "practical Darwinism.
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Even Gladstone had his vital statistics measured in Galton's eugenic laboratory. Among the champions of eugenics were social purity feminists and New Women, writers such as George Egerton, Ellice Hopkins, and Sarah Grand, who argued that women were naturally- biologically--moral, and that through rational reproduction middle-class women could regenerate the British imperial race.
Rational Reproduction and the New Woman
The New Woman has been the subject of numerous critical works in the last ten years or so. However, the oppressive ideas that coexisted with the emancipatory theories of some New Women--ideas that were supremely class conscious--remain largely unexamined, as the focus remains on her more progressive aspects. Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century recontextualizes New Woman writers, demonstrating that they were as concerned with the questions of poverty, sickness and health as they were with the changing role of women, the issue for which they are currently generally known and celebrated.
Focusing on fiction and the press, and drawing on the papers and published work of Galton and other eugenists, Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century reveals the cultural pervasiveness of eugenics and explores, for the first time, the intimate relations between early feminism and eugenics, and making a radical contribution to nineteenth-century studies. List of illustrations Preamble 1.
Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century
Women and Nature 3. Charity and Citizenship 4. Science and Love 5. Sarah Grand and Eugenic Love 6. Sarah Grand, the Country and the City 7.
George Egerton and Eugenic Morality 8. Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century is a fascinating, lucid, and controversial study of the centrality of eugenic debate to the Victorians.
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Reappraising the operation of social and sexual power in Victorian society and fiction, it makes a radical contribution to English studies, nineteenth-century and gender studies, and the history of science. List of illustrations I 1. Science, God and Politics 3. The Rise of Eugenics 4. Science and Women 5. Science and Fiction II 6.
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- Working with Children and Animals: The Autobiography of Liza Goddard?
Eugenic Love and Sarah Grand 7. Urban Degeneration in Grand's Late Novels 8. George Egerton among the Eugenists 9. Mona Caird and Anti-Eugenic Feminism Caird, Health, Reproduction and Race Conclusion Bibliography Biographical Notes Index.
Richardson exposes not just the class biases, but in some cases the antihumanitarianism of these writers. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.