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Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection$
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Evelleen Richards

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226436906

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226437064.001.0001

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Putting Female Choice in (Proper) Place

Putting Female Choice in (Proper) Place

(p.331) Eleven Putting Female Choice in (Proper) Place
Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection

Evelleen Richards

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 11 takes the history of sexual selection from Darwin’s “big species” book up to the publication of the Origin of Species, focusing on female choice and the arguments and evidence Darwin adduced in its support. Two rediscovered pages of his “big species” book (thought lost) show that Darwin had put female choice in theoretical place by (at the latest) mid 1858. The importance of embryology in deciding Darwin to publish his views on the determining role of sexual selection in human racial differentiation in the Origin is stressed. His naturalization of female choice in birds and normalization of male aesthetic choice in human racial divergence is discussed in relation to the “good woman” of Victorian domestic ideology and the beginnings of “first wave” feminism.

Keywords:   big species book, lost pages, female choice, evidence, importance of embryology, Origin of Species, racial differentiation, good woman, Victorian domestic ideology, first wave feminism

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