By Donald J. Childs
In Modernism and Eugenics, Donald Childs finds how Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats believed in eugenics, the technology of racial development, and tailored this clinical discourse to the language and reasons of the trendy mind's eye. He lines the influence of the eugenics flow on such modernist works as Mrs. Dalloway, The Waste Land, and Yeats's overdue poetry and early performs. this is often an unique learn of a arguable topic which unearths the centrality of eugenics within the lifestyles and paintings of numerous significant modernist writers.
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Additional info for Modernism and Eugenics: Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration
Speaking with warmth and eloquence, she described the iniquity of the English dairy system, and in what state milk was delivered at the door, and was about to prove her charges, for she had gone into the matter, when all around the table . . she was laughed at . 45 Her husband and children presumably laugh at the familiar signs of enthusiasm ± an enthusiasm here producing something of a conversational non sequitur ± and not at the equally familiar social conscience that she reveals. Mrs. Ramsay's zeal for social work is such that, although busy enough in London with her own acts of charity, she dreams that someday ``she would cease to be a private woman whose charity was half a sop to her own indignation, half a relief to her own curiosity, and become what with her untrained mind she greatly admired, an investigator, elucidating the social problem'' (p.
11 Woolf herself clearly disagrees about what deserves serious comment. Her diary and Three Guineas constitute serious enough comment about just this sort of eugenics. And of course Foucault disagrees: the discourse of ``bio-power,'' by which the state assumes the right to eliminate ``biological danger to others,'' certainly receives serious comment from him. Our contempt today for early twentiethcentury eugenics must not blind us to the quite different attitudes of quite different people in quite different times.
The contrast that Woolf draws between the Lady Bradshaw ``feeding ten or ®fteen guests of the professional classes'' and the Lady Bradshaw who ``[o]nce, long ago, . . had caught salmon freely'' presumably originates in table-talk about one of Savage's favorite recreations: ``®shing'' (p. '' (p. 152) may well derive from table talk about Savage's work on behalf of the National Association for the Feeble-Minded. Savage gave the opening address to the Association's annual meeting in 1909 (advising that ``in view of the alarming increase of the feeble-minded class .