Erasmus Darwin Further Reading

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Further Reading

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)


Hearn, Lafcadio. “Erasmus Darwin.” In Some Strange English Literary Figures of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, edited by R. Tanabé, pp. 33-39. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries, Inc., 1927.

Anecdotal and admiring summary of Darwin's life and works.

King-Hele, Desmond, ed. Introduction to The Letters of Erasmus Darwin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, 363 p.

Includes a comprehensive and readable account of Darwin's life.

Pearson, Hesketh. Doctor Darwin. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1930, 242 p.

Lengthy, detailed, and conversational biography of Darwin.


Beyette, Kent. “Wordsworth's Medical Muse: Erasmus Darwin and Psychology in ‘Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known.’” Literature and Psychology 23, No. 3 (1973): 93-101.

Considers Darwin's Zoonomia as supplying much of the information on associationist psychology used by Wordsworth in his “Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known.”

Danchin, Pierre. “Erasmus Darwin's Scientific and Poetic Purpose in The Botanic Garden.Science and Imagination in XVIIIth-Century British Culture: Proceedings of the Conference Gargnano del Garda 12-16 April 1985, edited by Sergio Rossi, Edizioni Unicopli, pp. 133-50, Milan: Edizioni Unicopli, 1987.

Explores both how and why Darwin poetically articulated his ideas on scientific and technical achievements in The Botanic Garden.

Hassler, Donald M. “David Hume and Erasmus Darwin's Zoonomia.Studies in Scottish Literature 8, No. 3 (January 1971): 190-93.

Brief exploration of the comic tension in Darwin's speculative writing.

———. “Erasmus Darwin and Enlightenment Belief.” Enlightenment Essays 1, No. 2 (Summer 1970): 77-83.

Discusses Darwin's method of analysis against the backdrop of the Enlightenment era.

King-Hele, Desmond. Doctor of Revolution: The Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin. London: Faber & Faber, 1977, 361 p.

Mixes biography with critical commentary in a comprehensive and detailed account of Darwin personal life and professional achievements.

———. “Erasmus Darwin's Influence on Shelley's Early Poems.” Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin 16 (1965): 26-28.

Brief discussion of the impact of Darwin's writings on Shelley's early poems contained in the Esdaile Notebook.

———. The Essential Writings of Erasmus Darwin: Chosen and Edited with a Linking Commentary by Desmond King-Hele. London: MacGibbon & Kee Ltd., 1968, 223 p.

Provides lengthy excerpts from Darwin's major works interspersed with remarks and observations by a prominent critic of the author.

Leonard, David Charles. “Erasmus Darwin and William Blake.” Eighteenth Century Life 4, No. 3 (March 1978): 79-81.

Centers on how Blake integrated Darwin's ideas on evolutionary recapitulation and embryonic development in his First Book of Urizen.

Matlak, Richard. “Wordsworth's Reading of Zoonomia in Early Spring.” Wordsworth Circle 21, No. 2 (Spring 1990): 76-81.

Finds parallels between the two volumes of Zoonomia and the separation in Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads between...

(The entire section is 624 words.)