Darwin's Origin of Species: A Biography: A Book That Shook the World
No book has changed our understanding of ourselves more than Darwin's Origin of Species. It caused a sensation on its first day of publication in 1859 and went on to become an international bestseller. The idea that living things gradually evolve through natural selection profoundly shocked its Victorian readers, calling into question what had been for many the unshakeable belief that there was a Creator. In this book, Janet Browne, Charles Darwin's foremost biographer, shows why Darwin's Origin of Species can fairly claim to be the greatest science book ever published. She describes the genesis of Darwin's theories, explains how they were initially received and examines why they remain so contentious today. Her book is a marvellously readable account of the work that altered forever our knowledge of what it is to be human.
London were the most intellectually creative that he ever experienced. Naturally enough, he worked hard distributing his Beagle specimens to appropriate experts. Connections blossomed, publications were arranged. With Henslow’s help, Darwin obtained a Treasury grant to publish formal descriptions by experts of his animal collection in The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (five parts, 1839–43). This handsome set of volumes was lavishly illustrated with hand-coloured plates and is one of the
also went some way towards establishing his social and educational difference from Wallace. There could be no mistaking the weight of thought that lay behind every word, the judicious strategies, the powerful, transformative metaphors, the interlocking double-punch of detail and breadth of vision. Although he subsequently complained that he had been rushed into Origin of Species, that it was nothing but an abstract, that his evidence was truncated, and his footnotes and sources were omitted, the
too drew on Darwinism. It should be said, however, that racism and genocide predated Darwin. Nor were they solely confined to the West. Nevertheless, evolutionary views, and then the new science of genetics, gave powerful biological backing to those who wished to partition society according to ethnic difference or promote white supremacy. The American author Joseph Le Conte spoke for many when he justified the subjugation of blacks in the post-Civil War South by saying that ‘the negro race is
Rowland Ref1 HMS Beagle: CD’s publications Ref1–9 CD’s voyage Ref1, Ref2 and Galápagos Islands Ref1, Ref2 geological studies Ref1 hydrographical survey Ref1 natural history studies Ref1 and FitzRoy Ref1, Ref2 and South America Ref1, Ref2, Ref3, Ref4 homosexuality Ref1, Ref2 Hooker, Joseph Ref1, Ref2, Ref3, Ref4, Ref5 and botany Ref1 Hope, Thomas Ref1 human beings: and aggression 145 and diversity Ref1 divine creation Ref1, Ref2, Ref3, Ref4, Ref5, Ref6, Ref7, Ref8 early Ref1,
Ref1, Ref2, Ref3 The Principles of Geology Ref1, Ref2, Ref3, Ref4, Ref5, Ref6 and uniformitarianism Ref1, Ref2 and Wallace Ref1, Ref2 Lysenko, Trofim Ref1 Lytton, Edward Bulwer Ref1 The Coming Race Ref1 Macgillivray, William Ref1 Malthus, Thomas Robert Ref1, Ref2, Ref1, Ref2 Martineau, Harriet Ref1, Ref2 Marx, Karl Ref1, Ref2 materialism Ref1, Ref2 Mayr, Ernst ix, Ref1, Ref2 Mendel, Gregor Ref1, Ref2, Ref3 Mental Deficiency Act 1913 Ref1 middle classes: and commerce Ref1 and