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What was the influence of Darwinism on English literature during the 19th century?

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Darwin's chief influence was on Naturalism, a form of realism that emerged in the late nineteenth century and was championed by writers such as Thomas Hardy, who saw humankind not as the crown of God's creation but as a tiny speck caught amid the larger, impersonal forces of nature.

In Hardy's novels, nature is depicted as indifferent to humankind and human suffering. There is no God that acts as a deus ex machina or intecessor, looking out for the well-being of characters by intervening to help them. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, for example, a mere twist of fate keeps her from turning to Angel's family for help—and they would have helped her. In Far From the Madding Crowd, nothing intervenes to save Gabriel Oak's flock of sheep from being herded over the side of a cliff and to their deaths by an overzealous dog. In Jude the Obscure, the idea that there is a "destiny" calling Jude to Oxford is shown to be an illusion.

Darwinism—the idea of nature as entity separated from God—influenced...

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