The concluding volume of Janet Browne's acclaimed biography covering the transformation in Darwin's life after the first and unexpected announcement of his and Alfred Russel Wallace's theory of evolution, followed by the publication of Darwin's influential Origin of Species a year later in 1859.
From the publisher's announcement:
'I never saw a more striking coincidence,' said Darwin unhappily in 1858. Unknown to him, Alfred Russel Wallace had arrived independently at the same theory of evolution by natural selection. This concluding volume of Janet Browne's biography covers the transformation in Darwin's life after the first unexpected announcement of his and Wallace's theory, followed by publication of Darwin's influential The Origin of Species a year afterwards in 1859. Always a private man by nature, Darwin suddenly found himself a controversial figure, reviewed and discussed in circles that stretched far beyond the boundaries of Victorian science, one of the leading thinkers of the nineteenth century. The second half of Darwin's life was inextricably interwoven with the story of The Origin of Species, and this biography looks closely at the wider publishing world of Victorian England and the different audiences which responded to his ideas.
Darwin relied heavily on his friends and family, his publishing contacts, his correspondence network, and the expanding geographical and economic horizons of Victorian Britain to distribute his views to the furthest corners of Empire.
This biography considers the Darwinian revolution from Darwin's point of view - and what it was like to become a scientific celebrity.
'The second, final volume of her magnificent life of [Darwin]. Much the best biography of Darwin to date, it makes irresistible reading.' Miranda Seymour, Top Five Books of the Year, Sunday Times 'A marvellous book...This second part of the life stands on its own. Soothing, unhurried and absorbing' Jane Ridley, Spectator
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Janet Browne is a zoologist and historian of science and Professor in the History of Biology at the Welcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College, London