Ian Duncan, Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution
Ian Duncan’s latest monograph, Human Forms: the Novel in the Age of Evolution, has just been published by Princeton University Press.
It offers a far-reaching rediscovery of the European novel in relation to early evolutionary science. Human Forms chimes with the interdisciplinary approach of our programme « Decentered Disciplines » and particularly with our research project on « Form across Literature and the Sciences ». In this monograph, and among many other exciting perspectives on the European novel, Victorianists will find compelling pages on Charles Dickens’s teratology analyzed through the prism of George Canguilhem’s theory. Dickens’s teratology is also explored through Geoffroy and Isidore Saint Hilaire’s postulates of a « saltationist » rather than a gradualist model of biological transformation, as well as of cases of arrested development. Specialists in nineteenth-century French studies will discover fascinating new insights into Victor Hugo’s novel Notre Dame de Paris in connection with Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire’s papers on monstrosity and Walter Scott’s Count Robert of Paris, both of which raised challenging ontological questions regarding the philosophical status of human nature.