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A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox

Biography / Memoir

By: Anthony WD Larkum

576 pages, Col & b/w figs, tabs

Kluwer Academic Publishers

Hardback | Feb 2009 | #179423 | ISBN-13: 9781402092329
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £179.99 $235/€204 approx

About this book

This book provides new factual material on Charles Darwin, following many years of research into Darwin's relationship to his cousin William Darwin Fox. It is a biographical and historical account of the letters exchanged by these two men and the diaries of W D Fox have never been accessed before. The relationship between Darwin and Fox has been acknowledged as a major biographical source on Darwin. Here the life of Fox is carefully pieced together and compared and contrasted with that of Darwin.

Since Darwin and Fox were undergraduates together at Christ's College, Cambridge, and corresponded with each other for the rest of their lives, dying within two years of each other, the diaries allow us a vivid insight into the unique relationship of these two naturalists and family friends. Both were studying to be clergymen of the Church of England, when Darwin was offered a place on The Beagle. Thereafter their lives diverged, as Fox became the country parson that Darwin might have been. Never the less, Fox supplied many facts to Darwin, which were used in the "Origin of Species" and later books.

From the reviews: "Larkum (Univ. of Sydney, Australia) has structured this work around 155 letters ! written by Charles Darwin to his second cousin, William Darwin Fox, from 1828 to 1880, the year of Fox's death. Larkum supplements this treasure trove with a few surviving letters Fox wrote to Darwin, Fox's letters to family members and other naturalists, and his diaries. ! This book's unique material will appeal to biologists and historians. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and above." (J. S. Schwartz, Choice, Vol. 47 (7), March, 2010)


Contents.-Preface.-Listing of the letters.-List of Figures and Special Formatting.-Chapter 1. Grandfathers and Fathers (1731-1824).-Chapter 2. Christ's College, Cambridge (1824-1826).-Chapter 3. Charles Darwin at Cambridge: The Letters to William Darwin Fox (1828-1831).-Chapter 4. The Voyage of the Beagle (1831-1837).-Chapter 5. Professions, marriage, families and illness (1838-1855).-Chapter 6. The "Origin of Species" (1855-1860).-Chapter 7. The most dangerous man in Europe: Living in the shadow of fame. (1860-1867).-Chapter 8. The final years (1868-1882).-Epilogue.- References.- Biographical Register.-Appendix 1. The Fox Materials and Their History.-Appendix 2. Documented meetings between Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox after his return from the Beagle on 2nd Oct 1836.-Appendix 3. The Letters of W D Fox in DAR 250.-Appendix 4. The Diary of W D Fox from 1st June 1825 -- 13th June 1826.-Appendix 5. Diary entries for 1828 and other years.- Appendix 6. Transcript variations.- Appendix 7.The family trees of i) The Darwin Family, ii) The Wedgwood Family and iii) the Fox Family in 1700 and 1800.

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