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The Last of the RaceThe Growth of a Myth from Milton to Darwin$
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Fiona J. Stafford

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112228.001.0001

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The Last Chapter: After Darwin

The Last Chapter: After Darwin

(p.289) 11 The Last Chapter: After Darwin
The Last of the Race

Fiona J. Stafford

Oxford University Press

Different revolutionary ideas had already been published about the myth of the last of the race by 1859, but it was Charles Darwin who produced a theory sufficiently effective to destroy the old orthodoxies with his ‘On the Origin of Species’, which brought about the ‘death of Adam’. Darwin's law of evolution greatly inverts the traditional attitudes towards vanishing races. His subtitle ‘The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life’ implies the concept of extinction of unfavoured races, which is at the core of the myth's ambiguities. Darwin's theory of evolution emphasized advancement. The vanishing of a race signifies the victory of a stronger form, while every new species indicates a higher development stage.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, evolution, preservation, favoured races, Struggle for Life, extinction

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