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This book investigates the specific conception and descent of a language of "degeneration" from 1848 to 1918, with particular reference to France, Italy, and England. The author shows how in the refraction and wake of evolution and naturalism, new images and theories of atavism, "dégénérescence" and socio-biological decline emerged in European culture and politics. He indicates the wide cultural and political importance of the idea of degeneration, while showing that the notion could mean different things at different times in different places. Exploring the distinctive historical and discursive contexts in France, Italy, and England within which the idea was developed, the book traces the profound complex of political issues to which the concept of degeneration gave rise during the period from the revolutions of 1848 to the First World War and beyond.Read more
- First paperback edition of outstanding piece of scholarship
- Received outstanding reviews in many academic fields
- Very strong interdisciplinary appeal
Reviews & endorsements
'Pick has made a remarkable contribution here to a comparative understanding of degeneration theory and suggested new ways to study the spread and meaning of medical culture.' Robert A. Nye, Medical HistorySee more reviews
'An account of Faces of Degeneration would demand another book, which would never be as good as the one Pick has written.' Eugen Weber, The Times Literary Supplement
' … essential intellectual historical background for the history of anthropology in the later 19th century.' George Stocking, American Ethnologist
'Dr Pick's study makes a distinguished addition to CUP's series 'Ideas in Context'. Granted the standards already established it would be difficult to offer higher praise.' Michael Biddis, French History
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- Date Published: July 1993
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521457538
- length: 288 pages
- dimensions: 227 x 153 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.41kg
- contains: 10 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. France:
2. Dégénérescence and revolution
3. Zola's prognosis
4. The wake of dégénérescence
Part II. Italy:
5. Lombroso's criminal science
Part III. England:
6. Fictions of degeneration
7. Crime, urban degeneration and national decadence
8. Concluding remarks.
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