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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 15 October 2019

Humanity's Place in Nature

Humanity's Place in Nature

Chapter:
(p.130) 5 Humanity's Place in Nature
Source:
Darwin's Bards
Author(s):

John Holmes

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639403.003.0005

This chapter investigates how Darwinism alters the perception of humanity's place in the universe. It addresses how a number of Victorian poets responded to the decentring of humanity, before homing in on Robinson Jeffers, in particular on his poem ‘Night’. It then addresses the poems by A. R. Ammons, Philip Appleman and Robert Pack, who extrapolate from a Darwinian world view towards an environmental ethic on the one hand and the humane solidarity epitomised by Thomas Hardy in ‘The Plaint to Man’ on the other. Jeffers' use of alliteration and assonance is subtly suggestive throughout his poem. Appleman's poem is a joyful incitement to love one another. His poem is a tonic, a jubilant affirmation of humanity's due importance to ourselves, even in the void. Few things could be further from Jeffers' Inhumanism, with its desire for human extinction, yet they share the same roots.

Keywords:   humanity, A. R. Ammons, Philip Appleman, Robert Pack, Thomas Hardy, Robinson Jeffers, Inhumanism

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