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Darwin’s Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution

By John Holmes
Newly available in paperback, Darwin’s Bards is the first comprehensive study of how poets have responded to the ideas of Charles Darwin in over fifty years. John Holmes argues that poetry can have a profound impact on how we think and feel about the Darwinian condition. Is a Darwinian universe necessarily a godless one? What is our own place in the Darwinian universe, and our ecological role here on Earth? How does our kinship with other animals affect how we see them and ourselves?
Holmes explores the ways in which some of the most perceptive and powerful British and American poets of the last hundred-and-fifty years have grappled with these questions, from Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning, through Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost, to Ted Hughes, Thom Gunn, Amy Clampitt and Edwin Morgan. Including over fifty poems and substantial extracts from many more, Darwin’s Bards gives us the chance to experience for ourselves what it can mean to live in a Darwinian world.

“Darwin’s Bards is a bracing, original and exciting contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the cultural impact of Darwinism; indeed, John Holmes is to be commended for writing an exhilarating and genuinely interdisciplinary study with revealing insights on every page.” – Roger Ebbatson, The Thomas Hardy Journal

Available on Amazon and Edinburgh University Press

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