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ENL 4273 - Group 5

Darwinian evolution, race science, and eugenics in "Mrs. Dalloway"

Emma Brown

on 27 April 2013

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Transcript of ENL 4273 - Group 5

Do they exist within Virginia Woolf's
"Mrs. Dalloway"? Discovering the Mysteries of Eugenics, Darwinism, and Race Science During the Modernist period, Eugenicists, race scientists and other scholarly individuals were influenced by Charles Darwin's "the origin of species." Society configured the theories to their own advantage, manipulating the population and creating hierarchy within the human race, bringing about racism and prejudice.

Literal Democratic View: to ensure progress towards higher forms of social development, primarily because political freedom ensured the wider circulation of competing ideas and people (Claeys 229).

Radical, Anti-aristocratic Ideal: emphasized the necessity of rewarding achievement rather than social status (Claeys 229)

Benevolent institution could assist social evolution by freeing individuals from a perpetual struggle for the means of existence: meaning social definition through scientific means would be an end to the issue of class separation (Claeys, 229). Science's Effect on Society Eugenics Examples in "Mrs. Dalloway" "Mrs. Dalloway" uses flowers as a qualifier of social class to show Social Darwinism, Eugenics, and Race Science.

Flowers are showcased in:
Clarissa buying flowers for the party
Flowers growing on Septimus' wall
Mrs. Dempster's loss of flowers
Moll Pratt's inability to have flowers due to poverty
Visualization of Septimus as the "half-dead rose"

The symbolism of the flowers“...necessitates that individuals succeed or dominate because of their inherent superiority” (Blake, 1). Race began as a loose term of classification, as well as:
Species (Claeys, 237-238)

Definition of people within societal groups became associated with "fitness" and skin color (Claeys, 238).

During the last decades of the 19th Century, it was widely assumed that inferior races would eventually fall victim to the onward march of superior progress (Claeys, 239).

Racial difference led to distance between "higher" and "lower" races, which substantially ended in dismissive contempt for the lower races (Claeys, 238).

So far as modern science can establish, there is no natural attraction or repulsion between people because of their coloring; only in a social way
(Scheinfeld, 73). Works Cited Becquemont, Daniel. "Social Darwinism: from reality to myth and from myth to reality." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 42.1 (2011): 12-19. Web. 2 Mar. 2013.

Beer, Gillian. Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter. Oxford [England: Clarendon, 1996. Print.

Blake, Amy. "Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway." Explicator. 56.4 (1998): n. page. Print.

Campbell, Chloe. Race and Empire: Eugenics in Colonial Kenya. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2007. 22. Print.

Claeys, Gregory. “The ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and the Origins of Social Darwinism.” Journal of The History of Ideas 61.2 (2000): 223-240. Web. 20 February 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/&gt>.

Coutts, Mary C., and Pat M. McCarrick. “Eugenics.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 5.2 (1995): 163-178. Web. 20 February 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/&gt>.

Dewey, John. The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, and Other Essays in Contemporary Thought. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1965. Print.

Ferber, Abbey. "White Supremacy Movement." Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. 2008.

Field, James A. “The Progress of Eugenics.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 26.1 (1911): 1-67. Web. 20 February 2013. < http://www.jstor.org/stable/1884524>.

Franz, Boas. “Eugenics.” The Scientific Journal 3.5 (1916): 471-478. Web. 28 Feburary 2013. <h

Rogers, James A. "Darwinism And Social Darwinism." Journal Of The History Of Ideas. Print.

Scheinfeld, Amram. Your Heredity and Environment. 1939. Philadelphia and New York: J.B. Lippincott
Company, 1965. Print.

Schiff, James. "Rewriting Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway: Homage, Sexual Identity, and the Single-Day Novel by Cunningham, Lippincott, and Lanchester." Studies in Contemporary Fiction.

See, Sam. "The Comedy Of Nature: Darwinian Feminism In Virginia Woolf's Between The Acts." Modernism/Modernity 17.3 (2010): 639-667. MLA International Bibliography.

Stevenson, Lionel, and Charles Darwin. Darwin Among the Poets. Chicago: Univ. Pr.: n.p., 1932. Print.

Tax, Sol. Evolution after Darwin; the University of Chicago Centennial. [Chicago]: University of Chicago, 1960. Print.

Turda, Marius. Modernism and Eugenics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.

Watkin, Christopher. From Plato to Postmodernism: The Story of Western Culture through Philosophy, Literature and Art. London: Bristol Classical, 2011. Print.

Wyatt, Jean. "Avoiding Self-Definition: In Defense of Women's Right to Merge (Julia Kristeva and Mrs. Dalloway)." Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. (1986): 115-126. Print. White Supremacy The idea of white supremacy was very prevalent until World War II, although it does still exist in society (Claeys, 240).

The identification of intelligence coincided with the white races (Claeys, 240).

The term, "White Supremacy," is typically used in hate groups that emphasize "White Power." The main goal of these groups is the "geographic separation of the White race from all non-Whites, including Jews" (Ferber).

A shift in the fall of white supremacy could be "presumed to have occurred after the end of the Holocaust and its horrifying events, and the crumble of the Nazi regime" (Claeys, 240).

Although a fall in the popularity of white supremacy has occurred, it still exists in groups like the Ku Klux Klan Original conception of “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest:”
continually altered through pressure and persuasion
used toward social issues as well

Survival of the fittest gets rid of the unnecessary and any hindrance towards the better of man. Darwin says that we make all decisions and everything is based on chance, despite what religion says (Dewey, 11).

Human development does not depend on fertility and over empowerment of population growth, but that human development depended on increasing mechanical skill, intelligence, and morality (Claeys 237).
Poorer and most degraded social classes of larger families thrives through human development through fertility
The word “fitness” refers to intelligence and skill

Optimal outcome of human natural selection: foreseeable triumph of the intellectual and moral races over the lower and more degraded races (Claeys 237).

The arguments of “Social Darwinism” were an essential element to support the existing justification of imperial expansion (Claeys 237). The word eugenics was coined in 1883 by Francis Galton, an Englishman and cousin of Darwin (Coutts and McCarrick, 163).

Although racial equality has recently been established and accepted in Western society, Galvin illustrates the ideas behind racial tensions and its origins (Campbell).

Galton’s theories were influenced by Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” who was impressed by the plasticity of the physical forms of animals under breeders’ selection (Field, 4).

Mental and physical qualities:
controllable variable in reproduction
subject to the principles of natural inheritance
explain favoring by superior opportunities (Field, 5)

Galton proposed the endowment of preeminently marriageable couples to be chosen out of the
whole nation, after an enlightened
examination, on the basis of their
qualifications for parenthood (Field, 5). Hereditary Genius Changing the Meaning of Eugenics to fit Society Eugenics was changed in society to reason why the elite should marry elite.

Literature conveys how it dominated throughout Europe and how its theories were construed and manipulated by those of a higher power.

"Negative eugenics" utilized marriage restriction, sterilization, or custodial commitment of those thought to have unwanted characteristics (Coutts and McCarrick).

"Positive eugenics" tried to encourage the population perceived as "superior" to have more offspring (Coutts and McCarrick). Woolf and Darwinism Eugenics Race Science Woolf read Darwin’s work, going into depth for feminist ideas. Gender, class, and the Nazi regime all play a part in Woolf’s analysis (See).

“Clarissa recognizes death as the only mode of defiance against the conformity demanded by social Darwinism” (Blake, 3)

Clarissa recognizes the social roles she is subjected to as a woman
Death is the only way Clarissa could break the roles alone

“Mrs. Dalloway implies that alone, without the social scaffolding of discourse, we are diffuse, not just internally -- subject to the changing currents of impulse and feeling -- but externally as well; without firm boundaries, the self merges with its surroundings” (Wyatt, 120-121).

Separation between characters and items/surroundings when used to identify something specific, such as feminism roles

Example: Clarissa disassociates with trees when on a walk, although she associates with the same trees at home.
Shows that she holds roles at home that
she does not outside, although she does
still recognize them when she is out. It was believed that issues are genetic and was used as a reason for breaking "social norms."

“Woolf was compelled to live a relatively secret and encoded sexual existence, and her character Clarissa Dalloway, whose sexual orientation would appear to be largely toward women, ends up in a rather chaste, heterosexual marriage that crushes her soul” (Schiff, 369).

Although Clarissa desired a relationship with a woman, as she shows through her memories of the past when she spent involved with them, she conforms to society and marries a man.

If Clarissa had chosen to be with a woman, she would have been faced with death due to social norms and her genetics would have been blamed, causing trouble with her family. Fitness and color define a person's place in society as their rank in society (high, middle, or low class).

"Fitness" and Septimus:

1. Septimus is portrayed both as being fit through his military experience and unfit due to his mental health (caused by his military experience)

2. He symbolizes the "half-dead" rose to show the contrasting fitness between physical and mental abilities Darwinism Examples in "Mrs. Dalloway" Eugenics Race Science Race Science Darwinism
& Feminism Feminism's premises:

1. Throughout Western culture, there has been an inequality of the sexes, with women suffering economic, sexual, vocational, or culture oppression at the hands of men and the structures of society made by men

2. This oppression is unjust (Watkin, 179)

"Feminism seeks to emancipate or liberate women from...oppression, and so it can be understood as [an] example of the broader movement in 20th century Western culture against hierarchical or fixed structures” (Watkin, 179).

“Darwinism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis are important currents within feminism," which work to question the structures that have caused inequality in Western culture (Watkin, 184).

Theory is needed by both science and poets to "stabilize a foreknown world," and it is suggested that it is likely that Woolf was well-read in scientific discoveries (Beer, 172). Social Darwinism Social Darwinism: the movement of theories' "main ideas of evolutionism, more particularly the struggle for existence and natural selection, to the field of social sciences and politics" (Becquemont).

“'Social Darwinism' held the hope that the optimal outcome of human natural selection would be the foreseeable triumph of the intellectual and moral races over the lower and more degraded races" (Claeys 237).

Used as a tool to justify everything and "the opposite of everything," it is not a stable means of identification" (Becquemont).

Darwin presumes that the civilized races encroach on and replace the lower class, displacement of the competing races occurring through the accumulation of capital and the growth of arts (Claeys 237)

Laissez-faire economies
Nationalist and revolutionary doctrines
Upholding equality and diversity between individuals and peoples
Found social justice and solidarity
Competition (Becquemont) Hereditary Genius is the theory that a person is a better suitor due to their physical traits rather than their mental characteristics (Field, 6).

It is believed that coupling with a suitor that has positive physical characteristics would benefit their future children, allowing them the ability to survive (also relating to Darwinism).

People with inherited physical traits:
English peerage
Literary men
Men of science
Divines (Field, 6) Anthropologists vs. Eugenic Biologists: Contrasting Ideas Eugenic Biologist: function depends upon form (Boas 472)

Higher civilization is due to a higher type; that better health depends upon a better hereditary stock (Boas 472)

Anthropologist: different anatomical forms can be adapted to the same social functions as others considered of a higher civilization (Boas 472)

Different types of man may reach the same civilization, that better health may be produced by better bringing up of any of the existing types of man (Boas 472) Nature vs. Nurture Groups of higher stature live under more favorable conditions, that require active use of body and mind (Boas 474)
Whereas groups of lower stature live in abject poverty, and their activities have more been degraded to those of machines (Boas 474)
Poor people develop slowly and remain short of stature as compared to wealthy people, but their hereditary stature would change if overall economic differences were altered (Boas 474)

Because of modernism and the establishment of industries, there is a higher variety of human activities, which induces more competition which leads to the created differentiation in society (Boas 474) Reason vs. Feeling Eugenics belief: there is a complete domination of emotion by reason, and this accounts for all sexual tendencies that are presumed to be only the actions of physical causes dictated by reason (Boas 475)

Anthropologist view: rational knowledge of mankind is not always put into purely reasonable course, but that its actions are swayed by emotions (Boas 475)

Of course, the increase of knowledge limits the extreme forms of unreasonable emotional activities (Boas 475)

Our actions of emotional preferences conform in a general way to our rational knowledge, but which are not determined by reason; that people rather try to justify their choice of action by reason than have their actions dictated by reason (Boas 475)

Examples demonstrated through religion, politics, and everyday habits

Anthropologists rationalize that it is extremely unlikely that a rational control of sexual urges could ever succeed (Boas 475) "Nancy Hall Davenport." ë Eugenics ÷ û. 03 Mar. 2013 <http://nancydavenport.org/eugenics.html>. Darwinism "Child with learning disability from the nineteenth century, MENCAP archive" "2.2 1 Social Darwinism and eugenics." K100_7:. 03 Mar. 2013 <http://elearning.quarriers.org.uk/mod/page/view.php?id=702>.

"The Scientist." The Scientist. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. Steggerda, Morris. "Mico College anthropometric case 1: photos, Schedule 3, notes, drawing test;
By Morris Steggerda for 'Race Crossing in Jamaica'." 1927. National Museum of Health
and Medicine. Eugenics Archive. Web. 26 February 2013. Bertillon, Alphonse. "Anthropometry card of Francis Galton, with profile and full-face photos
and spaces for key body measurements." 1893. University College, London. Eugenics
Archive. Web. 26 February 2013. See chart III; Galton, Hereditary Genius: an inquiry into its laws and calculations (PDF
file), p. 102 Rose. N.d. Buzzmedia EntertainmentWeb. 4 Mar 2013. <http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/daydreaming/images/31996541/title/rose-wallpaper>.
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