Darwin poses an interesting question for the student of literature and its relation to the natural sciences. Certain facts are clear: first, Tennyson anticipated Darwin's emphasis upon extinction of species and evolution in print by nine years and in manuscript by a decade and a half. At the same time, Tennyson might have read Darwin's works as they appeared. What questions, then, should the student of literature ask about the relationship between the two authors? One might be did Tennyson ever actually refer to Darwin or to evolution? Another might be, did Darwin ever read Tennyson? Third, how many different ways can you find Tennyson referring to evolution? Fourth, what scientists did the poet read?

Related Material

Last modified 30 November 2004; links added 15 November 2011