Brilliant, hard-working, immensely productive and influential, the naturalist Richard Owen was a great promoter of science and played a large role in shaping London’s Natural History Museum. An often difficult and arrogant individual, he was accused of plagiarism and bullying and is the only man whom Charles Darwin claimed to hate. Although strongly opposed to Darwin and Thomas Huxley’s theories of evolution through natural selection, there is evidence that a few of Owen’s ideas were not so very distant from theirs. This biography gives an account of Owen’s life and work, providing possible psychological and social reasons for some of his more controversial characteristics, and his sometimes rather strained relations with his scientific contemporaries.
Patrick H. Armstrong taught Geography and Ecology at the University of Western Australia for 28 years. He has written widely on the life and work of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, including Alfred Russel Wallace (Reaktion, 2019).