À quel(s) public(s) s’adresse Darwin ? L’Origine des Espèces, entre ouvrage scientifique, œuvre littéraire, et texte de vulgarisation
AbstractThe aim of this paper is to analyse some of the rhetorical strategies used by Darwin to persuade his reader of the validity of evolution theory in The Origin of Species. The links between science, religion, moral and politics are so intricate in Victorian England that Darwin needs to convince public opinion as well as the scientific community. There are many sides to the reader whose reaction Darwin is anticipating when writing : scientist, humanist or not learned, religious or agnostic ? Darwin uses a conversational style to create a special closeness with his reader, as well as popular language and images to convince as wide an audience as possible while flattering his reader’s humanist appetencies thanks to various literary devices. As the literary dimension of the book blurs the limit between the popular and the learned, Darwin tries to reconcile the core dichotomy between the religious and the agnostic reader by an ambiguous reference to the agency of natural selection : is it merely a random natural process, or literally a transcending agent, another version of God’s action in the theory of evolution ?