Modernism and Eugenics: Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture by Donald J. Childs

By Donald J. Childs

In Modernism and Eugenics, Donald Childs finds how Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats believed in eugenics, the technological know-how of racial development, and tailored this clinical discourse to the language and reasons of the trendy mind's eye. He lines the influence of the eugenics circulate on such modernist works as Mrs. Dalloway, The Waste Land, and Yeats's past due poetry and early performs. this is often an unique learn of a debatable subject which unearths the centrality of eugenics within the existence and paintings of numerous significant modernist writers.

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6 Prostitutes were thought to suffer from feeblemindedness ± the feeblemindedness that the Mental De®ciency Act was meant to address. With regard to prostitutes, this Act ®nally provided the state with a form of the ``powers of detention'' that Barnett had called for in 1908. As Jones notes, in the early twentieth century the assumption that nature dominated nurture was gaining the upper hand: It was increasingly assumed that alcoholism, prostitution, vagrancy and to a large extent unemployment were a complex of problems with a single root ± feeblemindedness.

If one could, it would reduce the world to such a dead level of respectability that it would be hardly worth living in. 38 This is neither the advice nor the voice of Sir William Bradshaw, prophet of the goddesses Proportion and Conversion. Savage seems to have regarded Woolf 's mental illness as an instance of sporadic insanity, perhaps a byproduct of genius itself. His advice that she marry and have children suggests that he agreed with F. W. ''39 Savage may have regarded Woolf as a woman of this type and the Stephen family more generally as a type of the family that can breed out hereditary mental illness.

169±70, 164). To what problem is emigration the ``remedy''? Lady Bruton's Britain is threatened by a differential birthrate; emigration of the least ®t class is one solution. Her emigration project is so clearly eugenical that Woolf might just as well have made her the delegate that the British Women's 38 Boers, whores, and Mongols in Mrs. 2 Thus Lady Bruton proposes emigration of ``the super¯uous youth of our ever-increasing population'' (p. 166). These youths are ®tter than some others insofar as it can be determined that their parents were ``respectable''; Lady Bruton does not propose that Canada become the dumping ground for the hazardous waste of feeble-minded British prostitutes.

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