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Cambridge English Prose Texts consists of volumes devoted to substantial selections from non-fictional English prose of the late sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. The series provides students, primarily though not exclusively those of English literature, with the opportunity of reading significant prose writers who, for a variety of reasons (not least their generally being unavailable in suitable editions) are rarely studied, but whose influence on their times was very considerable. This volume contains selections from nineteenth-century writers involved in the debate about the relation of science and religion. It centres on the Darwinian controversy, with extracts from The Origin Of Species and The Descent of Man, and from opponents and supporters of Darwin. This controversy is placed in the wider context of the earlier debates on geology and evolution; the relation of science to Natural Theology; the effect of Biblical Criticism on the interpretation of Genesis; and the professionalisation of science by aggressively agnostic scientists.
A study of the Victorian obsession with natural history incorporates portraits of the most popular naturalists--many of them notorious eccentrics--and examines the attempt to inculcate moral principles through natural theology