Charles Darwin: The Descent of Man

(2335 words)
  • Shannon R. Wooden (Missouri State University)

Though perhaps less famous than its older sibling, The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin’s second major treatise is at least as seminal to the Darwinian revolution from which the world still reels. Books, websites, and blogs even into the twenty-first century reflect our preoccupation with the fundamental question of The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex: what does evolution mean for humans, living as individuals, gathering in societies, divided into so-called “races”, and facing a future apparently determined by struggle and chance? Debates still rage over what Darwin actually said, intended, or anticipated in his approach to this question.

Certainly, it was clear even in 1871 when D…

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Wooden, Shannon R.. "The Descent of Man". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 September 2008
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

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