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Eugenics is a social philosophy (sometimes labeled a "science", a "movement", or a "pseudoscience") which advocates to improve human hereditary qualities. Proposed means of doing so have included but are not limited to birth control, selective breeding, genetic engineering, and racial hygiene. Advocates of the approach have said variously that it would lessen human suffering and genetically caused health problems, would save society money, and some have said it would create a new, more intelligent human race. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics [Jul 2005]

see also: gene - sociobiology - human


In 1928, Safe Council or Practical Eugenics by Dr. B.G. Jefferis still cautioned:

"Boys are sometimes strongly tempted to buy and to pass around among themselves pictures representing the body without proper clothing or even the relations of sex. You simply cannot afford to let the unclean picture get itself stamped upon your mind. It does not fade away. Long years after you saw it, and probably long after sentences that you have heard on the subject are quite forgotten, you will remember the picture. I have heard men say that they would give any sum of money that they could command if they might wipe off their memory some foul picture that they saw and brooded upon when they were boys."
--via http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/excerpts/sex/show/6/118.htm

Modernism and Eugenics : Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration (2001) - Donald J. Childs

Modernism and Eugenics : Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration (2001) - Donald J. Childs [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"Articles on individual modernist writers outline connections between their works and eugenical thought, but Childs' study is the first full-length treatment of this issue in relation to literary modernism, and as such is a valuable contribution to the field.... a very worthwhile contribution to modernist study." Woolf Studies Annual

"Child's book is at its best." Modern Fiction Studies

"investigates the influence of eugenics upon the lives and works of three modernist writers... Childs makes a knowledgeable case..." English Literature In Transition 1880-1920

Book Description
In Modernism and Eugenics, Donald Childs reveals how Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats believed in eugenics, the science of racial improvement, and adapted this scientific discourse to the language and purposes of the modern imagination. He traces the impact of the eugenics movement on such modernist works as Mrs. Dalloway, The Waste Land, and Yeats's late poetry and early plays. This is an original study of a controversial theme which reveals the centrality of eugenics in the life and work of several major modernist writers.

See also: Modernism - High Modernism - modernist literature - eugenics

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