Books  General Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel 

Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago

The complete collection of Wallace's voyage letters
Features new transcriptions of each of the letters
Tells the story of Wallace's voyage and discoveries
2013 is the 100th anniversary of Alfred Russel Wallace's death

By: Alfred Russel Wallace (Author), John van Wyhe (Editor), Kees Rookmaaker (Editor), Sir David Attenborough (Foreword By)

327 pages, 8 plates with 20 colour illustrations; 26 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Sep 2015 | #222206 | ISBN-13: 9780199684007
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £12.99 $16/€15 approx
Hardback | Oct 2013 | #207850 | ISBN-13: 9780199683994
Availability: Usually dispatched within 3 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $21/€19 approx

About this book

Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago brings together the letters of the great Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) during his famous travels of 1854-62 in the Malay Archipelago (now Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia), which led him to come independently to the same conclusion as Charles Darwin: that evolution occurs through natural selection. Beautifully written, they are filled with lavish descriptions of the remote regions he explored, the peoples, and fascinating details of the many new species of mammals, birds, and insects he discovered during his time there.

John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker present new transcriptions of each of the letters, including recently discovered letters that shed light on the voyage and on questions such as Wallace's reluctance to publish on evolution, and why he famously chose to write to Darwin rather than to send his work to a journal directly. A revised account of Wallace's itinerary based on new research by the editors forms part of an introduction that sets the context of the voyage, and Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago includes full notes to all letters. Together the letters form a remarkable and vivid document of one of the most important journeys of the 19th century by a great Victorian naturalist.


- David Attenborough: Foreword
- Introduction
- England to Singapore and Malacca, 4 March-16 October 1854
- Borneo, 17 October 1854-23 May 1856
- Bali, Lombock and Celebes, 23 May-16 December 1856
- Aru and Amboyna, 17 December 1856-7 January 1858
- Ternate and New Guinea, 8 January-8 October 1858
- Batchian and Ternate, 9 October 1858 - 9 June 1859
- Menado, Amboyna and Ceram, 10 June 1859 - 16 June 1860
- Waigiou, Ternate, Timor, 17 June 1860 - 5 July 1861
- Java, Sumatra and back home, 6 July 1861 - 31 March 1862

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John van Wyhe is a historian of science, Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Biological Sciences & History and a Fellow of Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore. He is the founder and Director of Darwin Online and Wallace Online, Professorial Fellow of Charles Darwin University, Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and a Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum (London). He lectures and broadcasts on Darwin, Wallace, and the history of science around the world.

Kees Rookmaaker is a biologist specialising in the history of zoology. He has worked for the past eight years on Darwin and Wallace, including bibliography and transcriptions of notebooks and letters. He has also edited detailed surveys of all letters received by the Museum of Zoology, University in Cambridge during the 19th century. He is the author of over 200 papers and several books. He received the Founder's Medal of the Society for the History of Natural History.

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