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Science in Modern PoetryNew Directions$
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John Holmes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318092

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317743

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date: 23 January 2018

From Bergson to Darwin: Evolutionary Biology in the Poetry of Judith Wright

From Bergson to Darwin: Evolutionary Biology in the Poetry of Judith Wright

Chapter:
(p.194) Chapter 12 From Bergson to Darwin: Evolutionary Biology in the Poetry of Judith Wright
Source:
Science in Modern Poetry
Author(s):

Holmes John

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317743.013

This chapter discusses how Henri Bergson's vitalist model of evolution can be traced in the early works of renowned Australian poet, Judith Wright, one of the most determined campaigners for aboriginal rights and against environmental destruction. By the mid-1950s, however, Wright began to turn to a more Darwinian understanding of biology, moving from the pseudo-scientific philosophy of Bergson to a more precisely and rigorously scientific perspective which substitutes natural selection and ecology for the teleological drive of Bergson's famous elan vital. Wright's disillusionment with vitalism is particularly apparent in some of the poems she wrote on birds from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Keywords:   Judith Wright, Henri Bergson, Darwinism, vitalism, natural selection, ecology

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