Title

Evolution, Two Darwins, and the Gestalt Imagining of Edward Lear

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2023

Publication Title

Victorian Studies

Volume

65

Issue

2

First Page

274

Last Page

300

Abstract

Edward Lear was in the vanguard of cultural assimilation of evolutionary the-ory. In what amounts to a gestalt relationship, some of his published “nonsense” figures against, and largely derives its meaning from, innovation in the natural sciences. Certain of his works, some not previously interpreted, are specific in their engagement with evo-lutionists, including Erasmus and Charles Darwin, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and Robert Grant. Before and after the appearance of On the Origin of Species (1859), Lear backs one side against another in public debates sparked by evolutionary theory. His implicit engagement with the new biology becomes evident in close attention to the drawings, which are essential components of Lear’s innovative hybridization of visual and literary artforms.

DOI

10.2979/vic.2023.a911109

ISSN

00425222

E-ISSN

15272052

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