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James A. Secord
Vol. 100, No. 3 (September 2009), pp. 537-541
DOI: 10.1086/644629
Stable URL:
Page Count: 5
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ABSTRACT Since his death in 1882, if not before, Charles Darwin has been a key icon of the modern era. The bearded sage of Down House has been invoked in a wide range of contexts in the English‐speaking world, from eugenics and social policy to debates about the implications of science for religious belief. The essays in this Focus section explore the Darwinian image in an unusual diversity of media, examining portrait photographs, portable sculptures, newspaper caricatures, cartoons, after‐dinner drinking songs, and long‐playing records. They suggest that Darwin's celebrity needs to be understood not as the outcome of the unique qualities of his life and work, but as an aspect of the emergence of the idea of the scientist, a process closely tied to the developing communication and entertainment industries of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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