Lost World Notes

Introduction to Literature

The Lost World
Towards Paper Topics


* How does Darwinism apply to the book? or,What role does social Darwinism play in the book? [Good startingpoint but far too broad for a short paper! A crucial subject,so just narrow it down somehow.]

* What is the significance of the “stoolof penance” (22)? [Probably too specific, and focused onan issue and moment seemingly not crucial to the work.]

* The humans are more “animal”than the animals. [True, but tending towards an opinion paper.]

* Compare the two professors. [What willwe get? Just a pointless comparison paper?]


1) Critique the book in light of the “men’smovement” (i.e., masculinism, the recently emerging “men’sstudies”). Is this a useful text? It reflects the philosophywhere and how? Does it succeed in convincing readers of any truthto this philosophy?

2) Science or male ego boost?

3) What is the function of the courtly loveframe? Since it finally is dismissed, what takes its place?

4) What is the attitude towards the landitself in The Lost World?

5) Trace the speciesistic attitude displayedby the characters and certified by Doyle. What factors determinethe classification of animals in the book and what does this attitudedo? [Don’t just assert that it exists in the text.]

6) Trace the Eurocentric hierarchy of racescreated in the book, and comment.

7) Discuss the brand of social Darwinism,or even “pop” Darwinism in the book, possibly as anextension of Memmi’s dynamics of racism.

8) Explore the ethical problems involvedin the self-justification for systematic genocide (or speciesicide?)and the cover-up. [See pages 170, 174, 178, 181, 200, and O.T.ref.]

9) “Great minds mould all of natureto their use” (175). Discuss.

10) What is really “lost,” accordingto Doyle?

11) Why do Challenger and the king of theape-men look alike? [Potentially an interesting starting point,but requires extreme inspiration probably.]

12) Explain the significance of those storieswe never get: the Guinea pig from hell (185; cf. 112), the poisonousmoth (201), the “great nocturnal white thing” (184).

Use MLA documentation (author page) for secondarysources, such as journal articles. Include Doyle in the list ofWorks Cited. Underline or italicize the title of the book; usequotation marks for articles. There is no need to use Doyle’sname in the parenthetical page citations for quotations from TheLost World; it should be obvious when you are quoting fromthe primary source here.

Davies, Howard. “The Lost World: Conan Doyle and the Suspense of Evolution.” Nineteenth-Century Suspense: From Poe to Conan Doyle. Ed. Clive Bloom et al. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. 107-119.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Lost World. 1912. Chicago: Chicago Academy Pub., 1990.