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The Correspondence of Charles Darwin
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Book description

This volume is part of the definitive edition of letters written by and to Charles Darwin, the most celebrated naturalist of the nineteenth century. Notes and appendixes put these fascinating and wide-ranging letters in context, making the letters accessible to both scholars and general readers. Darwin depended on correspondence to collect data from all over the world, and to discuss his emerging ideas with scientific colleagues, many of whom he never met in person. The letters are published chronologically: volume 26 includes letters from 1878, the year in which Darwin with his son Francis carried out experiments on plant movement and bloom on plants. Francis spent the summer at a botanical research institute in Germany; and father and son exchanged many detailed letters about his work. Meanwhile, Darwin tried to secure government support for attempts by one of his Irish correspondents to breed a blight-resistant potato.


'In the letters of a single year, both to and from Darwin, edited with consummate scholarship and a nice sense of balance in the footnotes, which illuminate without overwhelming the text, the small points build into a picture. Darwin himself appears in close-up from the intimate angles of everday life, while through the correspondence the changing temper of the times reverberates. …  the large questions are never far away. Evolution itself and the working out of evolutionary theory pervade the letters as they pervaded the age.'

Rosemary Hill Source: London Review of Books

'The context of each letter is outlined with fine footnotes, there is a brief biography of all correspondents and a thorough, easily searchable index. Pleasure guaranteed for all with an interest in the history of science.'

Paul Ashton Source: The Biologist

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