- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: August 2011
- Print publication year: 2009
- First published in: 1794
- Online ISBN: 9780511704024
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511704024
Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) is remembered not only as the grandfather of Charles but as a pioneering scientist in his own right. A friend and correspondent of Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestley and Matthew Boulton, he practised medicine in Lichfield, but also wrote prolifically on scientific subjects. He organised the translation of Linnaeus from Latin into English prose, coining many plant names in the process, and also wrote a version in verse, The Loves of Plants. The aim of his Zoonomia, published in two volumes (1794–6), is to 'reduce the facts belonging to animal life into classes, orders, genera, and species; and by comparing them with each other, to unravel the theory of diseases'. The first volume describes human physiology, especially importance of motion, both voluntary and involuntary; the second is a detailed description of the symptoms of, and the cures for, diseases, categorised according to his physiological classes.
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