Darwin’s idea has been called the best idea anyone ever had. In Interrogations of Evolutionism in German Literature 1859-2011 Nicholas Saul offers the first representative account of German literary responses to Darwinian evolutionism from Raabe and Jensen via Ernst Jünger and Botho Strauß to Dietmar Dath.
Often identified with National Socialist ideology and hence notably absent from the public sphere after 1945, Darwinian thought is in fact shown to be distorted though the lens of Social Darwinism and bionationalist organicism. As Nicholas Saul shows, literature has been the main agent in public discourse for challenging such illiberal presentations, and there is a common thread of salvific individualism which leads to the new legitimacy of Darwinian discourse today.
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