Biological Time, Historical Time

Transfers and Transformations in 19th Century Literature


Volume Editors: and
Biological Time, Historical Time presents a new approach to 19th century thought and literature: by focussing on the subject of time, it offers a new perspective on the exchanges between French and German literary texts on the one hand and scientific disciplines on the other. Hence, the rivalling influences of the historical sciences and of the life sciences on literary texts are explored, texts from various scientific domains – medicine, natural history, biology, history, and multiple forms of vulgarisation – are investigated. Literary texts are analysed in their participation in and transformation of the scientific imagination. Special attention is accorded to the temporal dimension: this allows for an innovative account of key concepts of 19th century culture.

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Niklas Bender is substitute Professor for Romance Literatures at Trier and Tübingen University. His works focus on literature and science, comic procedures, laughter and anthropology. Recently, he published The Laughter of Art: the Contribution of the Comic to Modernist Literature.

Gisèle Séginger, full professor at the University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée and member of the Institut Universitaire de France, is the founder of the Centre de Recherche Littératures, Savoirs et Arts (LISAA) and director of a research program at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. She is a specialist on Flaubert, Nerval, Musset and on the relations between literature and scientific knowledge.
The Authors

Niklas Bender and Gisèle Séginger

Part 1: Rethinking the Order of Time

From Biblical Time to Darwinian Time: Discourses on the Living World in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Pascal Duris

Memory Strata, Geology and Change of Historical Paradigm in France around 1830
Paule Petitier

Devilish Words: Pierre Boitard, “maître Georges” and the Advance of Nature
Claude Blanckaert

From Biological Time to Historical Time: the Category of “Development” (Entwicklung) in the Historical Thought of Herder, Kant, Hegel, and Marx
Christophe Bouton

“O man! wilt thou never conceive that thou art but an ephemeron?”: the Reception of Geological Deep Time in the Late 18th Century
David Schulz

Part 2: Atavism and Heredity

The Law of Progress, Atavism, and Prehistory in the Belle Époque
Arnaud Hurel

Nietzsche, or Culture Put to the Test at the Timescale of Heredity
Emmanuel Salanskis

Zola, Hereditability of Character and Hereditability of Deviation: After a Remark by Bergson in L’Évolution Créatrice
Arnaud François

Life, Sex and Temporality in Zola’s La Faute de l’Abbé Mouret
Rudolf Behrens

Part 3: Nature and Culture

Time of History and Time of Nature in the Historical Novels of Victor Hugo
Niklas Bender

Historical Time, Cultural Time, and Biological Time in Baudelaire
Thomas Klinkert

Evolution and Time in the Chants de Maldoror
Frank Jäger

Memory of the Body in Proust: Historical Time and Biological Time
Edward Bizub

Part 4: Poetics of Time

The Poetics of Restored Time: Balzac, His Age and the Figure of Cuvier
Hugues Marchal

The Evolution of Social Species in Balzac’s Comédie humaine
Sandra Collet

Time as Imagined in the Evolutionary Epic
Nicolas Wanlin

Evolutionism and Successivity in Antediluviana, Poème géologique by Ernest Cotty (1876)
Yohann Ringuedé

End of the World, End of Time: the Theory of Evolution and Its Fate in the Novel of Anticipation
Claire Barel-Moisan

A Biologist Literary History: August Wilhelm Schlegel and the Franco-German Natural Sciences
Stefan Knödler

Part 5: Biology and Ideology

Evolutionary Time and Revolutionary Time (Michelet, Flaubert, Zola)
Juliette Azoulai

Michelet and La Mer: Biology and the Philosophy of History
Gisèle Séginger

“Il faut manger et être mangé pour que le monde vive”: the Zolian Belly amidst Evolution, Revolution, and Convolutions
Carine Goutaland

Gobineau’s Heroes Are Ageless
Pierre-Louis Rey

Darwinus anarchistus explodens: Science and the Legend of the Struggle for Life (Louise Michel)
Claude Rétat
All interested in French and German 19th century literature, in the relationship between literature and sciences, and in the history of the concept of time.
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