Charles Darwin changed the direction of modern thought by establishing the basis of evolutionary biology. This fascinating selection of letters, offers a glimpse of his daily experiences, scientific observations, personal concerns and friendships.
Beginning with a charming set of letters at the age of twelve, through his university years in Edinburgh and Cambridge up to the publication of his most famous work, On the Origin of Species in 1859, these letters chart one of the most exciting periods of Darwin's life, including the voyage of the Beagle and subsequent studies which led him to develop his theory of natural selection. Darwin's vivid writing style enables the reader to see the world through his own eyes, as he matures from grubby schoolboy in Shropshire to one of the most controversial thinkers of modern times.
A Foreword by the late Stephen Jay Gould puts the letters into their wider historical, social and scientific context.
Based on the original publication, Burkhardt: Charles Darwin's Letters: A Selection 1825-1859 (1996), this volume includes recently discovered letters, written by Darwin as a twelve year old schoolboy, that have never been published before.
'... the letters remind us of the sheer brilliance of the man ... Darwin commented that 'If any man wants to gain a good opinion of his fellow men, he ought to do what I am doing, pester them with letters'. The judicious choice of letters presented ... reveal the truth of Darwin's statement, as his personality and trains of thought are revealed. His geniality, thoroughness and tenacity as he progressed as a scientist also shine through. Furthermore the letters offer a wider insight into the development of science at a key moment in history. ... highly recommended.' Biologist
Foreword Stephen Jay Gould; Introduction; Note on the text; Acknowledgements; Symbols and abbreviations; Prologue; Shrewsbury; Edinburgh; Cambridge; The offer; The voyage: South America - East Coast; The voyage: South American - West Coast; Homeward Bound; 1837; 1838; 1839-1843; 1844; 1845-1846; 1847; 1848; 1849; 1850; 1851; 1852-1854; 1855.
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Frederick Burkhardt (1912-2007) was the founder of the Charles Darwin Correspondence Project, and the associated high profile book series The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (Cambridge University Press, 1985- ). He was President of the American Council of Learned Societies from 1957 to 1974, and in 2003 was awarded the American Philosophical Society Thomas Jefferson Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences.