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Show Me the BoneReconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America$
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Gowan Dawson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226332734

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226332871.001.0001

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Correlation Crosses the Channel

Correlation Crosses the Channel

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 Correlation Crosses the Channel
Source:
Show Me the Bone
Author(s):

Gowan Dawson

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226332871.003.0002

This chapter explores the Franco-German contexts in which the law of correlation originated, and also considers how Cuvier’s law was used to thwart the transmutationism of Lamarck. It examines Cuvier’s rhetorical presentation of his law, and his significant silence on religion. With a particular focus on Edinburgh and translations of Cuvier’s anatomical and geological writings, the chapter shows how, in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars, there was a myriad of different, and often competing, interpretations of the savant, whose works could be repackaged to endorse both conservative and radical, as well as religious and heretical purposes. The law of correlation itself was often more amenable to the interests of radical materialists than to conservative theologians looking to bolster revealed theology.

Keywords:   Edinburgh, Napoleonic Wars, translation, geology, comparative anatomy, materialism, Presbyterianism, transmutationism, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, radicalism

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