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The Politics of Evolution

Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London

Looking for the first time at the cut-price anatomy schools rather than genteel Oxbridge, Desmond winkles out pre-Darwinian evolutionary ideas in reform-minded and politically charged early nineteenth-century London. In the process, he reveals the underside of London intellectual and social life in the generation before Darwin as it has never been seen before.

"The Politics of Evolution is intellectual dynamite, and certainly one of the most important books in the history of science published during the past decade."—Jim Secord, Times Literary Supplement

"One of those rare books that not only stakes out new territory but demands a radical overhaul of conventional wisdom."—John Hedley Brooke, Times Higher Education Supplement

514 pages | 46 halftones, 1 map | 6 x 9 | © 1989

Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series

Biological Sciences: Evolutionary Biology

History: European History

History of Science


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Evolution and Society: Setting the Scene
2. Importing the New Morphology
3. Reforming the Management of Medicine and Science: The Radical Perspective
4. Nonconformist Anatomy in the Private Schools
5. Accommodation and Domestication: Dealing with Geoffroy’s Anatomy
6. Science under Siege: Forging an Idealist Comparative Anatomy at the College of Surgeons
7. Engaging the Lamarckians
8. Embryology, Archetypes, and Idealism: New Directions in Comparative Anatomy
9. Grasping the Nettle: Some Concluding Remarks
Afterword: Putting Darwin in the Picture
Appendix A: Comparative Anatomy Teachers in London in the 1830s
Appendix B: Biographical List of British Medical Men


History of Science Society: Pfizer Award

American Association for the History of Medicine: William H. Welch Medal

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