Dickens in the Context of Victorian Culture: an Interpretation of Three of Dickens's Novels from the Viewpoint of Darwinian Nature

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The worlds of Dickens's novels and of Darwin's science reveal striking similarity in spite of their involvement in different areas. The similarity comes from the fact that they shared the ethos of Victorian society: laissez-faire capitalism. In The Origin of Species, which was published on 1859, Charles Darwin theorizes that nature has evolved through the rules of natural selection, survival of the fittest, and the struggle for existence. Although his conclusion comes from the scientific evidence that was acquired from his five-year voyage, it is clear that Dawinian nature is reflected in cruel Victorian capitalism. Three novels of Charles Dickens ... continued below

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iii, 108 leaves

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Moon, Sangwha August 1996.

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  • Moon, Sangwha

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The worlds of Dickens's novels and of Darwin's science reveal striking similarity in spite of their involvement in different areas. The similarity comes from the fact that they shared the ethos of Victorian society: laissez-faire capitalism. In The Origin of Species, which was published on 1859, Charles Darwin theorizes that nature has evolved through the rules of natural selection, survival of the fittest, and the struggle for existence. Although his conclusion comes from the scientific evidence that was acquired from his five-year voyage, it is clear that Dawinian nature is reflected in cruel Victorian capitalism. Three novels of Charles Dickens which were published around 1859, Bleak House, Hard Times, and Our Mutual Friend, share Darwinian aspects in their fictional worlds. In Bleak House, the central image, the Court of Chancery as the background of the novel, resembles Darwinian nature which is anti-Platonic in essence. The characters in Hard Times are divided into two groups: the winners and the losers in the arena of survival. The winners survive in Coketown, and the losers disappear from the city. The rules controlling the fates of Coketown people are the same as the rules of Darwinian nature. Our Mutual Friend can be interpreted as a matter of money. In the novel, everything is connected with money, and the relationship among people is predation to get money. Money is the central metaphor of the novel and around the money, the characters kill and are killed like the nature of Darwin in which animals kill each other. When a dominant ideology of a particular period permeates ingredients of the society, nobody can escape the controlling power of the ideology. Darwin and Dickens, although they worked in different areas, give evidence that their works are products of the ethos of Victorian England.

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iii, 108 leaves

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  • August 1996

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Moon, Sangwha. Dickens in the Context of Victorian Culture: an Interpretation of Three of Dickens's Novels from the Viewpoint of Darwinian Nature, dissertation, August 1996; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279322/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .