Vol. 5 No. 1 (2021)
Research Articles

Loren Eiseley's Substitution

Bart Kahr
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Design Institute, New York University, New York City, NY 10003 USA

Published 2021-03-01


  • Francis Bacon,
  • Charles Darwin,
  • Loren Eiseley,
  • Rachel Carson,
  • Richard Nixon

How to Cite

Kahr, B. (2021). Loren Eiseley’s Substitution. Substantia, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-1040


The anthropologist and acclaimed essayist, Loren Eiseley, in the midst of recounting a vision in the conclusion of a draft of a 1960 composition, “Creativity and Modern Science,” invoked Charles Darwin as the essay’s animating spirit. Eiseley modified his draft the next year and published it in no less than three of his subsequent books. The most striking differences between his draft and published texts is the substitution of Darwin in the final moments of the narrative with Francis Bacon, a barrister and philosopher who died nearly two centuries before the famous biologist was born. Here, is crafted a rationale for this unlikely switch, to the extent that the intent of another can be uncovered, by closely reading Eiseley’s psychologically charged work. Eiseley’s own struggles as both a scientist and an artist, identities respectively epitomized by Darwin and Bacon, reveal how and why the writer permitted his foremost heroes to be substituted, one for the other.


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