The Blind Logic of Plants: Enlightenment and Evolution in John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids

Stock, Adam (2015)
DePauw University Press
JObject, JObject, JObject, JObject
In John Wyndham’s breakthrough novel The Day of the Triffids (1951) the dissolution of the modern nation-state as a result of mass blindness is used as a springboard to explore a range of social and cultural anxieties and political concerns of the postwar world. In this post-apocalyptic landscape, the narrative leads the reader through an exploration of a variety of methods of social organization, questioning the assumptions and values which underpin each type. But the novel is also notable for Wyndham’s questioning of the values which underpin scientific ideas, especially those of the competing theories of evolution and genetic mutation of the mid-twentieth century. Through analysis of the three different published versions of the novel’s text and archival material, this article explores the development of Wyndham’s Wellsian style, his apocalyptic narrative structure, his political ideas and his understanding of evolutionary theories.

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