BOOK: What About Darwin?

Historian Thomas F. Glick, author/editor of many books on the reception of Darwinism (The Comparative Reception of Darwinism, Darwin on Evolution: The Development of the Theory of Natural Selection, The Reception of Darwinism in the Iberian World: Spain, Spanish America and Brazil (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science), Negotiating Darwin: The Vatican Confronts Evolution, 1877-1902 (Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context), and The Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe (Reception of British & Irish Authors Europe)), has recently published What about Darwin?: All Species of Opinion from Scientists, Sages, Friends, and Enemies Who Met, Read, and Discussed the Naturalist Who Changed the World (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010):

Charles Darwin and his revolutionary ideas inspired pundits the world over to put pen to paper. In this unique dictionary of quotations, Darwin scholar Thomas Glick presents fascinating observations about Darwin and his ideas from such notable figures as P. T. Barnum, Anton Chekhov, Mahatma Gandhi, Carl Jung, Martin Luther King, Mao Tse-tung, Pius IX, Jules Verne, and Virginia Woolf.

What was it about Darwin that generated such widespread interest? His Origin of Species changed the world. Naturalists, clerics, politicians, novelists, poets, musicians, economists, and philosophers alike could not help but engage his theory of evolution. Whatever their view of his theory, however, those who met Darwin were unfailingly charmed by his modesty, kindness, honesty, and seriousness of purpose.

This diverse collection drawn from essays, letters, novels, short stories, plays, poetry, speeches, and parodies demonstrates how Darwin’s ideas permeated all areas of thought. The quotations trace a broad conversation about Darwin across great distances of time and space, revealing his profound influence on the great thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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