(August 8, 1861 - February 8, 1926) William Bateson was a British geneticist and the first person to use the word genetics to refer to the study of heredity and biological inheritance.
Bateson was a saltationist rather than a gradualist. "In biology, saltation (from Latin, saltus, "leap") is a sudden change from one generation to the next, that is large, or very large, in comparison with the usual variation of an organism. The term is used for nongradual changes (especially single-step speciation) that are atypical of, or violate gradualism - involved in modern evolutionary theory." (3)
In his essay "The Nobel Rider" from The Necessary Angel, Wallace Stevens discusses the variations of the "sound of words" from one age to other ages (2). He refers to William Bateson' statement "that a language, considered semantically, evolves through a series of conflicts between thedenotative and the connotative forces in words, between anasceticism , tending to kill language by stripping words of all association and a hedonism tending to kill language by dissipating their sense in a multiplicity of associations. These conflicts are nothing more than changes in the relation between the imagination and reality" (2).
- Stevens, Wallace. "The Nobel Rider and the Sound of Words." Collected Poetry and Prose. Ed. Frank Kermode and Joan Richardson. New York: Library of America, 1997. 650.