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Literary Criticism  19th Century

Marking Time

Romanticism and Evolution

edited by Joel Faflak

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2017
19th Century, 18th Century, History
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2017
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Scholars have long studied the impact of Charles Darwin’s writings on nineteenth-century culture. However, few have ventured to examine the precursors to the ideas of Darwin and others in the Romantic period.


Marking Time, edited by Joel Faflak, analyses prevailing notions of evolution by tracing its origins to the literary, scientific, and philosophical discourses of the long nineteenth century. The volume’s contributors revisit key developments in the history of evolution prior to The Origin of Species and explore British and European Romanticism’s negotiation between the classic idea of a great immutable chain of being and modern notions of historical change. Marking Time reveals how Romantic and post-Romantic configurations of historical, socio-cultural, scientific, and philosophical transformation continue to exert a profound influence on critical and cultural thought.

About the author

Joel Faflak is professor of English and Theory at Western University, where he was also the Inaugural Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities.

Joel Faflak's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Marking Time: Romanticism and Evolution offers excellent contributions to these diverse fields of study, and Faflak’s timely collection leaves readers with a portrait of Romantic evolution’s own entangled bank of topics and concepts far knottier—and more interesting—than the one familiar from more traditional histories of Darwinian evolutionary science."

<i>Isis, Vol. 112, No. 1</i>

"Marking Time: Romanticism and Evolution, thoughtfully edited by Joel Faflak, presents a multiplicity of thinkers delving deeply into the possibility and potential for entanglement among temporality, Romanticism, and evolution."

European Romantic Review, vol 30 1

"There is much to learn from Marking Time, both in terms of how evolution served as a pervasive concept and metaphor across multiple discourses and disciplines in the Romantic era, and in the specific writings and authors analyzed in individual chapters, in which familiar texts are made unfamiliar and unfamiliar texts are brought to the forefront. Marking Time will surely have a major effect on future studies of Romantic science and the history of evolution."


"…the essays in this volume offer interesting contributions to our understanding of the Romantic conception of natural history and its relation to Darwinian evolution – pointing toward the possibility of expanding the contours of the ‘Romantic Darwin’ narrative."

HPLS vol 40

Other titles by Joel Faflak