Erasmus Darwin regarded science and technology as expressions of spiritual creativity and power, as aspirations after human dominance over nature. We face a topic present both in Darwin’s thought and in the wide Romantic tradition: Darwin, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth shared a strong confidence in human spiritual faculties, which were seen as the mirror of divine creativity in nature. In such an interpretation, nature is simply the “feed tank” or maybe the unwitting background against which the restricted human-God drama happens. But if Darwin’s emphasis fell upon the shaping power of the mind and intellect, upon the might of spirit, this emphasis points out only one aspect of a more complex plan. In the late eighteenth century nature was not “but a name”, i.e., the immovable stage on which the relation hand-to-hand between God and the human spirit takes place. On the contrary, nature was often the leading actor, and human beings, notwithstanding their presumed spirituality and their declared similarity to God, were totally subjected to nature’s power.

‘Another and the Same’: Nature and Human Beings in Erasmus Darwin’s Doctrines of Love and Imagination

VALSANIA, Maurizio
2005

Abstract

Erasmus Darwin regarded science and technology as expressions of spiritual creativity and power, as aspirations after human dominance over nature. We face a topic present both in Darwin’s thought and in the wide Romantic tradition: Darwin, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth shared a strong confidence in human spiritual faculties, which were seen as the mirror of divine creativity in nature. In such an interpretation, nature is simply the “feed tank” or maybe the unwitting background against which the restricted human-God drama happens. But if Darwin’s emphasis fell upon the shaping power of the mind and intellect, upon the might of spirit, this emphasis points out only one aspect of a more complex plan. In the late eighteenth century nature was not “but a name”, i.e., the immovable stage on which the relation hand-to-hand between God and the human spirit takes place. On the contrary, nature was often the leading actor, and human beings, notwithstanding their presumed spirituality and their declared similarity to God, were totally subjected to nature’s power.
The Genius of Erasmus Darwin
Ashgate
337
355
9780754636717
Erasmus Darwin; British Romanticism; British Enlightenment; British Literature
M. VALSANIA
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Darwin-Valsania.pdf

Accesso riservato

Tipo di file: POSTPRINT (VERSIONE FINALE DELL’AUTORE)
Dimensione 6.02 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
6.02 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/101124
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact