The correspondence in this volume reveals the two sides of Darwin's life in a new intensity. It opens with a family tragedy in the death of Darwin's oldest and best loved daughter, Anne, and goes on to show how Darwin sought relief from his loss through work, with a single-minded but increasingly weary commitment to the completion of his cirripede monographs. In September 1854, as soon as the final proofs of the last barnacle volume had been returned to the printer, Darwin threw himself into a resumption of his species work. He followed up old ideas by initiating new experiments and establishing a worldwide correspondence that encompassed geographical distribution, variation, and plant and animal breeding. The wealth of letters through 1855 makes evident the frenzy of intellectual activity that followed Darwin's terse announcement in his diary: 'Sept. 9th (1854) began sorting notes for Species Theory ...'
What more can be said of the continuation of this already famous edition of Darwin's letters, than to repeat that it fully meets the meticulous and thorough scholarship of the four volumes that have preceded it?
List of illustrations; List of letters; Introduction; Acknowledgments; Note on editorial policy; List of provenances; Darwin/Wedgwood genealogy; Abbreviations and symbols; Part I. The Correspondence, 1851-55: Appendices; Manuscript alterations and comments; Bibliography; Biographical register and index to correspondents; Index.
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