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Darwin in 1881 Summary
Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Everything you need to understand or teach Darwin in 1881 by Gjertrud Schnackenberg.

  • Darwin in 1881 Summary & Study Guide

Darwin in 1881 Summary

Introduction

Gjertrud Schnackenberg published "Darwin in 1881" in her first collection of poems, Portraits and Elegies, in 1982. This book—sometimes referred to as a "chapbook" because of its short length—is divided into three sections, and "Darwin in 1881" makes up the entire second section. All three parts relate in one way or another to history, the first consisting of a series of elegies to her father, the third tracing the history of a Massachusetts farmhouse nearly two hundred years old, and the middle depicting the life of Charles Darwin one year before his death. This latter poem is layered with two primary allusions. A subtle reference compares Darwin's life to the poet's father's life, but the more obvious allusion is to Shakespeare's character Pros-pero from The Tempest, whom Schnackenberg also compares to Darwin.

To the poet, all three men—her father, Darwin, and Prospero—accomplished great things in their lives and...

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Darwin in 1881 Study Guide

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