Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture

Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture


Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: May 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521135795

£ 22.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Although The Origin of Species contained just a single visual illustration, Charles Darwin's other books, from his monograph on barnacles in the early 1850s to his volume on earthworms in 1881, were copiously illustrated by well-known artists and engravers. In this 2006 book, Jonathan Smith explains how Darwin managed to illustrate the unillustratable - his theories of natural selection - by manipulating and modifying the visual conventions of natural history, using images to support the claims made in his texts. Moreover, Smith looks outward to analyse the relationships between Darwin's illustrations and Victorian visual culture, especially the late-Victorian debates about aesthetics, and shows how Darwin's evolutionary explanation of beauty, based on his observations of colour and the visual in nature, were a direct challenge to the aesthetics of John Ruskin. The many illustrations reproduced here enhance this fascinating study of a little known aspect of Darwin's lasting influence on literature, art and culture.

    • A fresh angle on how Darwin used visual images in his works, and how his work influenced visual culture
    • Richly illustrated with Darwin's own illustrations and representations of Darwin and his theories in art
    • Focuses on some of Darwin's less studied works as well as The Origin of Species
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a rewarding journey through Darwin's less well-known but richly illustrated works … the range of illustrations is superb.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'In the texture of its writing, the meticulousness of its scholarship, and the freshness of its analysis, Jonathan Smith's Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture seems an understated and modest book. But it lives up to the ambition of its title and deserves to be recognised, in addition, as one of the finest (and most careful) cultural studies of Darwin that the growing Darwin industry has produced. This is a major book, one of the very few studies of Darwin that attends to the entire range of his writing. By virtue of what I would like to think of as Darwinian attention to the smallest details, it manages to read Darwin into his culture better than almost any other previous work.' George Levine, Rutgers University

    'Overall, Voss's analysis of Darwin's images is studded throughout with insights.' NTM

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521135795
    • length: 378 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 173 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 134 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Seeing things: Charles Darwin and Victorian visual culture
    2. Darwin's barnacles
    3. Darwin's birds
    4. Darwin's plants
    5. Darwin's faces I
    6. Darwin's faces II
    7. Darwin's worms

  • Author

    Jonathan Smith, University of Michigan, Dearborn
    Jonathan Smith is Professor of English at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.