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Darwin's BardsBritish and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution$
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John Holmes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639403

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639403.001.0001

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(p.75) 3 God
Darwin's Bards

John Holmes

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines how poets have imagined the nature of God in a Darwinian universe, from Robert Browning's ‘Caliban upon Setebos’, written in the very early 1860s in the immediate aftermath of The Origin of Species, to the essays and poems of the contemporary American poets Robert Pack, Philip Appleman and Pattiann Rogers. Before doing this, it looks at two sonnets which focus the mind on the implications of the arguments for and against design in nature. Caliban recognises his own lack of empathy in nature and so deduces it in God. In his essay, Pack argues that Darwin's vision of the world is consistent with one book of the Bible in particular. Like the Bible itself, Rogers' poems present God in ways that appear to be, or even are, contradictory, but that unite nonetheless in a sensitive spirituality and a tentative theology.

Keywords:   God, Robert Browning, Caliban, Robert Pack, Philip Appleman, Pattiann Rogers, The Origin of Species, Bible

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