BOOK: Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins

In September of this year, the National Center for Science Education (seriously, donate to them now if you value evolution and climate change education) posted on their blog about how Stephen Jay Gould’s comparison of Darwinian evolution to Kipling’s “Just So Stories” did not sit well with many a biologist. While of course Gould’s use of the phrase is nuanced, and refers to views some biologists have compared to others regarding how evolution happened, the phrase is a favorite trope of creationists.

A new book uses the idea of “Just So Stories” and children’s stories in general to show how evolution can be better understood.

Charles R. Ault Jr., Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016), 240 pp.

Publisher’s description Thinking whimsically makes serious science accessible. That’s a message that should be taken to heart by all readers who want to learn about evolution. Do Elephants Have Knees? invites readers into serious appreciation of Darwinian histories by deploying the playful thinking found in children’s books. Charles R. Ault Jr. weds children’s literature to recent research in paleontology and evolutionary biology. Inquiring into the origin of origins stories, Ault presents three portraits of Charles Darwin—curious child, twentysomething adventurer, and elderly worm scientist. Essays focusing on the origins of tetrapods, elephants, whales, and birds explain fundamental Darwinian concepts (natural selection, for example) with examples of fossil history and comparative anatomy. The imagery of the children’s story offers a way to remember and recreate scientific discoveries. By juxtaposing Darwin’s science with tales for children, Do Elephants Have Knees? underscores the importance of whimsical storytelling to the accomplishment of serious thinking. Charles Darwin mused about duck beaks and swimming bears as he imagined a pathway for the origin of baleen. A “bearduck” chimera may be a stretch, but the science linking not just cows but also whales to moose through shared ancestry has great merit. Teaching about shared ancestry may begin with attention to Bernard Wiseman’s Morris the Moose. Morris believes that cows and deer are fine examples of moose because they all have four legs and things on their heads. No whale antlers are known, but fossils of four-legged whales are. By calling attention to surprising and serendipitous echoes between children’s stories and challenging science, Ault demonstrates how playful thinking opens the doors to an understanding of evolutionary thought.

Purchase Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins through the publisher or the independent Powell’s City of Books. The author, who teaches at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, will discuss his book at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne on November 28 at 7:30pm.

 

BOOK: The Age of Analogy: Science and Literature Between the Darwins

For those with an interest in how literature has an effect on science, this new book from an English professor and former biologist will be of interest:

Devin Griffiths, The Age of Analogy: Science and Literature Between the Darwins (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), 352 pp.

Publisher’s description Erasmus Darwin and his grandson, Charles, were the two most important evolutionary theorists of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. Although their ideas and methods differed, both Darwins were prolific and inventive writers: Erasmus composed several epic poems and scientific treatises, while Charles is renowned both for his collected journals (now titled The Voyage of the Beagle) and for his masterpiece, The Origin of Species.

In The Age of Analogy, Devin Griffiths argues that the Darwins’ writing style was profoundly influenced by the poets, novelists, and historians of their era. The Darwins, like other scientists of the time, labored to refashion contemporary literary models into a new mode of narrative analysis that could address the contingent world disclosed by contemporary natural science. By employing vivid language and experimenting with a variety of different genres, these writers gave rise to a new relational study of antiquity, or “comparative historicism,” that emerged outside of traditional histories. It flourished instead in literary forms like the realist novel and the elegy, as well as in natural histories that explored the continuity between past and present forms of life. Nurtured by imaginative cross-disciplinary descriptions of the past—from the historical fiction of Sir Walter Scott and George Eliot to the poetry of Alfred Tennyson—this novel understanding of history fashioned new theories of natural transformation, encouraged a fresh investment in social history, and explained our intuition that environment shapes daily life.

Drawing on a wide range of archival evidence and contemporary models of scientific and literary networks, The Age of Analogy explores the critical role analogies play within historical and scientific thinking. Griffiths also presents readers with a new theory of analogy that emphasizes language’s power to foster insight into nature and human society. The first comparative treatment of the Darwins’ theories of history and their profound contribution to the study of both natural and human systems, this book will fascinate students and scholars of nineteenth-century British literature and the history of science.

Purchase The Age of Analogy through the publisher or the independent Powell’s City of Books.

BOOK: Charles Darwin’s Looking Glass

Some readers here might be interested in this new book which looks at the intersection of British literature and Darwin or evolution:

265870_cover_front

Dominika Oramus, ed., Charles Darwin’s Looking Glass: The Theory of Evolution and the Life of its Author in Contemporary British Fiction and Non-Fiction (New York: Peter Lang, 2015), 150 pp.

Publisher’s description The book offers a comparative analysis of diverse Darwinism-inspired discourses such as post-modern novels, science fiction, popular science and nature films. Analysing the uses of the evolutionary discourse in recent literature and films, the study demonstrates how natural science influences the contemporary humanities and how literary conventions are used to make scientific and popular-science texts intelligible and attractive. Charles Darwin’s Looking Glass shows how and why today’s culture gazes upon the myth of Darwin, his theory, and his life in order to find its own reflection.

Table of contents here. Charles Darwin’s Looking Glass is available through Amazon or the publisher’s website.

ARTICLE: Deceived by orchids: sex, science, fiction and Darwin

A new article of interest in the British Journal for the History of Science:

Deceived by orchids: sex, science, fiction and Darwin

Jim Endersby

Abstract Between 1916 and 1927, botanists in several countries independently resolved three problems that had mystified earlier naturalists – including Charles Darwin: how did the many species of orchid that did not produce nectar persuade insects to pollinate them? Why did some orchid flowers seem to mimic insects? And why should a native British orchid suffer ‘attacks’ from a bee? Half a century after Darwin’s death, these three mysteries were shown to be aspects of a phenomenon now known as pseudocopulation, whereby male insects are deceived into attempting to mate with the orchid’s flowers, which mimic female insects; the males then carry the flower’s pollen with them when they move on to try the next deceptive orchid. Early twentieth-century botanists were able to see what their predecessors had not because orchids (along with other plants) had undergone an imaginative re-creation: Darwin’s science was appropriated by popular interpreters of science, including the novelist Grant Allen; then H.G. Wells imagined orchids as killers (inspiring a number of imitators), to produce a genre of orchid stories that reflected significant cultural shifts, not least in the presentation of female sexuality. It was only after these changes that scientists were able to see plants as equipped with agency, actively able to pursue their own, cunning reproductive strategies – and to outwit animals in the process. This paper traces the movement of a set of ideas that were created in a context that was recognizably scientific; they then became popular non-fiction, then popular fiction, and then inspired a new science, which in turn inspired a new generation of fiction writers. Long after clear barriers between elite and popular science had supposedly been established in the early twentieth century, they remained porous because a variety of imaginative writers kept destabilizing them. The fluidity of the boundaries between makers, interpreters and publics of scientific knowledge was a highly productive one; it helped biology become a vital part of public culture in the twentieth century and beyond.

BOOK: Darwin the Writer

Darwin the Writer

George Levine, Darwin the Writer (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 272 pp.

Publisher’s description Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, arguably the most important book written in English in the nineteenth century, transformed the way we looked at the world. It is usually assumed that this is because the idea of evolution was so staggeringly powerful. Prize-winning author George Levine suggests that much of its influence was due, in fact, to its artistry; to the way it was written. Alive with metaphor, vivid descriptions, twists, hesitations, personal exclamations, and humour, the prose is imbued with the sorts of tensions, ambivalences, and feelings characteristic of great literature. Although it is certainly a work of “science,” the Origin is equally a work of “literature,” at home in the company of celebrated Victorian novels such as Middlemarch and Bleak House, books that give us a unique yet recognisable sense of what the world is really like, while not being literally ‘true’. Darwin’s enormous cultural success, Levine contends, depended as much on the construction of his argument and the nature of his language, as it did on the power of his ideas and his evidence. By challenging the dominant reading of his work, this impassioned and energetic book gives us a Darwin who is comic rather than tragic, ebullient rather than austere, and who takes delight in the wild and fluid entanglement of things.

BOOK: America’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture

Tina Gianquitto and Lydia Fisher, eds., America’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U. S. Literary Culture (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2014), 401pp.

While much has been written about the impact of Darwin’s theories on U.S. culture, and countless scholarly collections have been devoted to the science of evolution, few have addressed the specific details of Darwin’s theories as a cultural force affecting U.S. writers. America’s Darwin fills this gap and features a range of critical approaches that examine U.S. textual responses to Darwin’s works.

The scholars in this collection represent a range of disciplines—literature, history of science, women’s studies, geology, biology, entomology, and anthropology. All pay close attention to the specific forms that Darwinian evolution took in the United States, engaging not only with Darwin’s most famous works, such as On the Origin of Species, but also with less familiar works, such as The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

Each contributor considers distinctive social, cultural, and intellectual conditions that affected the reception and dissemination of evolutionary thought, from before the publication of On the Origin of Species to the early years of the twenty-first century. These essays engage with the specific details and language of a wide selection of Darwin’s texts, treating his writings as primary sources essential to comprehending the impact of Darwinian language on American writers and thinkers. This careful engagement with the texts of evolution enables us to see the broad points of its acceptance and adoption in the American scene; this approach also highlights the ways in which writers, reformers, and others reconfigured Darwinian language to suit their individual purposes.

America’s Darwin demonstrates the many ways in which writers and others fit themselves to a narrative of evolution whose dominant motifs are contingency and uncertainty. Collectively, the authors make the compelling case that the interpretation of evolutionary theory in the U.S. has always shifted in relation to prevailing cultural anxieties.

ARTICLES: Science, Literature, and the Darwin Legacy

In 2010, the journal 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century devoted an issue to Darwin and literature, and the articles are available for free online:

Articles

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Introduction: Science, Literature, and the Darwin Legacy ABSTRACT PDF HTML
Paul White
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Losing the Plot: the Geological Anti-Narrative ABSTRACT PDF HTML
Adelene Buckland
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‘By a Comparison of Incidents and Dialogue’: Richard Owen, Comparative Anatomy and Victorian Serial Fiction ABSTRACT PDF HTML
Gowan Dawson
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Narrating Darwinian Inheritances: Fields, Life Stories and the Literature-Science Relation ABSTRACT PDF HTML
David Amigoni
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After Darwin’s Plots ABSTRACT PDF HTML
Gillian Beer
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Field Studies: Novels as Darwinian Niches, Poetry for Physicists and Mathematicians ABSTRACT PDF HTMLGALLERY
Daniel Walter Brown
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‘The Lay of the Trilobite’: Rereading May Kendall ABSTRACT PDF HTML
John Robert Holmes
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Darwin as Metaphor ABSTRACT PDF HTML
Emily Ballou
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The Curatorial Turn in the Darwin Year 2009 ABSTRACT PDF HTMLGALLERY
Julia Voss
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Darwin and Reductionisms: Victorian, Neo-Darwinian and Postgenomic Biologies ABSTRACT PDF HTML
Angelique Richardson
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Darwin and Genomics: Regenia Gagnier interviews John Dupré ABSTRACT INTERVIEW
John Dupré, Regenia Gagnier

ARTICLE: On Suffering and Sympathy: Jude the Obscure, Evolution, and Ethics

From the journal Victorian Studies:

On Suffering and Sympathy: Jude the Obscure, Evolution, and Ethics

 

Caroline Sumpter

 

Abstract This article links Thomas Hardy’s exploration of sympathy in Jude the Obscure to contemporary scientific debates over moral evolution. Tracing the relationship between pessimism, progressivism, and determinism in Hardy’s understanding of sympathy, it also considers Hardy’s conception of the author as enlarger of “social sympathies”—a position, I argue, that was shaped by Leslie Stephen’s advocacy of novel writing as moral art. Considering Hardy’s engagement with writings by Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and others, I explore the novel’s participation in a debate about the evolutionary significance of sympathy and its implications for Hardy’s understanding of moral agency. Hardy, I suggest, offered a stronger defence of morality based on biological determinism than Darwin, but this determinism was linked to an unexpected evolutionary optimism.

New articles about Darwin and evolution or related

This first one is not an article, but a dissertation:

The ministry of chance: British Romanticism, Darwinian evolutionary theory & the aleatory

by Burkett, Andrew, Ph.D., Duke University, 2008, 319 pages; AAT 3346753

Abstract The Ministry of Chance proposes that Charles Darwin’s emergent understanding and depiction of organic variation must be seen in direct and significant continuity with Romantic representations of the aleatory – that is, those forms, processes, and phenomena that are understood as governed by the operations of chance. Romantic literature murmurs quietly but continuously about the unexpected, the accidental, and the desultory. Moreover, although the concept of the aleatory has been largely overlooked by Romanticist critique, Romantic-era texts including William Wordsworth’s The Prelude (1799, 1805, 1850) and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Queen Mab (1813), Mont Blanc (1817), and Prometheus Unbound (1820) meditate often on chance and, in so doing, reveal that Romantic literature is not only topically preoccupied with chance but that it is also structurally dependent on the aleatory. The transition from first- to second-generation Romanticism is characterized, I suggest, by a gradual change in the way in which these poets envision causality, and these two historical moments are each the topic of a subsequent chapter of this project. Furthermore, this study aligns Darwin’s conception and representation of evolution with this shift in Romanticism. Driven by complex plots encrypted in minute and variational organic forms, Darwinian evolutionary theory is similarly founded upon chance, both formally and conceptually. In the years leading up to the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859), Darwin becomes increasingly fascinated with the aleatory. Moving beyond his analyses of island populations, Darwin begins investigating the role of chance in the dispersion of continental floral populations as examined in his “Botanical Arithmetic” drafts, a set of largely unpublished documents held at the University of Cambridge’s “Charles Darwin Archive.” My project puts this Romantic poetry and Darwinian science into conversation by drawing upon the work of three critical and theoretical fields: Science Studies, the history and philosophy of biology, and Romantic criticism and theory. Such a cross-disciplinary approach to the aleatory in these narratives helps to illuminate the ways that British Romanticism and Darwinian evolutionary theory together “cohabit” a nineteenth- century paradigm change in reconceptions of chance and causality.

From Isis:

Vivisecting Major: A Victorian Gentleman Scientist Defends Animal Experimentation, 1876–1885

Rob Boddice

Abstract Through an investigation of the public, professional, and private life of the Darwinian disciple George John Romanes, this essay seeks a better understanding of the scientific motivations for defending the practice of vivisection at the height of the controversy in late Victorian Britain. Setting aside a historiography that has tended to focus on the arguments of antivivisectionists, it reconstructs the viewpoint of the scientific community through an examination of Romanes’s work to help orchestrate the defense of animal experimentation. By embedding his life in three complicatedly overlapping networks—the world of print, interpersonal communications among an increasingly professionalized body of scientific men, and the intimacies of private life—the essay uses Romanes as a lens with which to focus the physiological apprehension of the antivivisection movement. It is a story of reputation, self‐interest, and affection.

From Museum History Journal:

The Pitt-Rivers Collection from 1850-2011

Alison Petch

Abstract This paper examines the history of one man’s engagement with one of the most dominant intellectual ideas of the second half of the nineteenth century—evolution—and the way this was given physical form in the display of his collections up to 1884. It will also discuss the subsequent changes wrought to his work by his museum descendants at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The collection does not contain any considerable number of unique specimens, and has been collected during upwards of twenty years, not for the purpose of surprising any one, either by the beauty or value of the objects exhibited, but solely with a view to instruction. For this purpose ordinary and typical specimens, rather than rare objects, have been selected and arranged in sequence, so as to trace, as far as practicable, the succession of ideas by which the minds of men in a primitive condition of culture have progressed from the simple to the complex, and from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous.

From Evolution: Education and Outreach:

Darwin’s Busts and Public Evolutionary Outreach and Education

Sidney Horenstein

Abstract For the 1909 Darwin Centennial, the New York Academy of Sciences gave a large bronze bust of Charles Darwin to the American Museum of Natural History. Created by the well-known sculptor, William Couper, the bust was placed on its tall granite pedestal at the entrance at the newly designated exhibition hall, the Charles Darwin Hall of Invertebrate Zoology. Later that year, the American Museum ordered a bronze copy of the bust and presented it to Christ’s College, in Cambridge, England at the British Darwinian celebration. In 1935, Victor Von Hagen requested a plaster copy of the bust for a monument he was erecting on San Cristóbal in the Galapagos Islands to celebrate Darwin’s arrival in the Galapagos. During 1960, the American Museum of Natural History returned the original bronze bust to the New York Academy of Science, where it is now on display at its headquarters in New York City. To celebrate the Darwin bicentennial, the National Academy of Sciences recreated the bust in a computer-generated copy for display at their Washington, DC headquarters.

From Biology and Philosophy:

Empathy’s purity, sympathy’s complexities; De Waal, Darwin and Adam Smith

Cor Weele

Abstract Frans de Waal’s view that empathy is at the basis of morality directly seems to build on Darwin, who considered sympathy as the crucial instinct. Yet when we look closer, their understanding of the central social instinct differs considerably. De Waal sees our deeply ingrained tendency to sympathize (or rather: empathize) with others as the good side of our morally dualistic nature. For Darwin, sympathizing was not the whole story of the “workings of sympathy“; the (selfish) need to receive sympathy played just as central a role in the complex roads from sympathy to morality. Darwin’s understanding of sympathy stems from Adam Smith, who argued that the presence of morally impure motives should not be a reason for cynicism about morality. I suggest that De Waal’s approach could benefit from a more thorough alignment with the analysis of the workings of sympathy in the work of Darwin and Adam Smith.

ARTICLES: Darwin in Denmark, Shakespeare and Darwin, and Dobzhansky

In the Journal of the History of Ideas:

Protestant Responses to Darwinism in Denmark, 1859–1914

Hans Henrik Hjermitslev

Preview From the 1870s onwards, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, published in On the Origin of Species (1859) and Descent of Man (1871), was an important topic among the followers of the influential Danish theologian N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783–1872). The Grundtvigians constituted a major faction within the Danish Evangelical-Lutheran Established Church, which included more than ninety percent of the population in the period 1859–1914. This article demonstrates the influence of local contexts on the reception of scientific ideas by analyzing how specific aspects of Danish intellectual culture made the Grundtvigian reactions to Darwin’s theory different from Protestant denominations in America and Britain. Firstly, Grundtvig’s critique of Lutheran scriptural theology and his preference for the living word to the letters of the Bible legitimized liberal interpretations of Scripture. Secondly the philosophy of the Søren Kierkegaard protagonist, Rasmus Nielsen, made it possible for Grundtvigians to draw radical distinctions between science and faith. This specific “Danish Protestantism,” as the clergyman Frederik Jungersen phrased it in 1873, led the way for liberal Grundtvigians in coming to terms with Darwinism in the first decades of the twentieth century.

From Configurations:

Shakespeare’s Origin of Species and Darwin’s Tempest

Glen A. Love

Abstract Ecocriticism provides a natural meeting-point of the humanities and the life sciences. Shakespeare’s last great play, The Tempest, is rich in its anticipation of Darwinian evolutionary ideas, thus providing the stage for a rare two-cultures dialogue between, arguably, the world’s greatest literary artist and its greatest scientist on the most abiding and profound of subjects: nature, and especially human nature. If Caliban is the most noticeable of The Tempest‘s subjects of evolutionary and cultural significance, he is accompanied by other matters of interest in today’s expanding field of biocultural and cognitive research and thought.

From Configurations:

Evolutionary Works and Texts: Reading Dobzhansky in an Age of Genomics

Michael P. Cohen

Abstract Scientific writing is the most powerful and pervasive nature writing of our era. Instead of using science to interpret literary texts, ecocritics should read classic scientific “works” as “texts” (as Roland Barthes defines these terms), uncovering grounds for stories about nature and premises of modern environmental narratives. This essay examines a classic text of the modern evolutionary synthesis, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937), where the conservative force of heredity battles the random change of mutation in an “adaptive landscape,” yielding resultant “species.” Tensions between metaphors and maps structure his exposition and reveal a still-influential master-narrative.

The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution

The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution, edited by Chris Lynch:

What does evolution mean? Marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species, The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution is bursting with stories, poetry, and full-page artwork about the meaning of evolution. From science fiction and fantasy, to comedy and horror, to fairy tales and literary fiction, this anthology has a story for everyone.

An international lineup of more than 40 contributors includes Sean Williams, Brian Stableford, Patricia Russo, Carlos Hernandez, Jetse de Vries, Christopher Green, Bruce Boston, and Emily Ballou. Dark, whimsical, and shot through with wonder, The Tangled Bank explores the universe Charles Darwin revealed.

Take a peek inside and read a free short story from the collection, Darwin’s Daughter, a darkly beautiful tale about Charles Darwin by 2009 Aurealis Award winner Christopher Green. You can also read the complete introduction to the anthology and check out the full table of contents.

CFP: Essay Collection: Darwin in American Textual Studies

From the HSS website:

We are seeking submissions for an interdisciplinary textual studies essay collection that will explore Darwinism in the American scene. Essays will examine the ways in which Darwinian language and theories have made their way into American literary and cultural texts, initially providing writers with a new vocabulary to describe human affairs and interactions with other living organisms, and continuing to shape the discourse and debates of today. We expect to include articles that address texts written from the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859) through the present day. Texts examined may include fiction, nonfiction, popular science, film, documentary/television series, visual art, performance art, personal correspondence, etc. Comparative studies that treat texts of a single writer before and after publication of On the Origin are welcome. We are also very interested in textual readings that engage with Darwin’s works other than On the Origin and Descent of Man, such as The Expression of the Emotions in Man and the Animals, the barnacle and worm studies, and the plant researches. Essays that examine the distinctive qualities of America’s textual engagement with Darwin are also of particular interest.

Submissions should explore the diverse issues that arose as a result of Darwin’s exploration into the mechanisms of evolution: How, for instance, did Darwin’s vision of natural and/or sexual selection shape late-century cultural productions? What role did the Darwinian view of evolutionary kinship play in late century benevolence literature? How did his work on animal behavior and communication in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and the Animals affect the representation of animal consciousness and animal rights?

Other topics might include, but are not limited to:
-Evolution and race/gender/class/nation
-Social Darwinism
-Darwin and feminism
-Evolutionary psychology
-Darwin and pragmatism
-Darwin and modernism; Darwin and postmodernism
-Sexual selection and the representation of sex and gender
-Intelligent design and Creation science
-Conceptions of Darwin’s work in contemporary popular and/or educational texts

We conceptualize this collection as useful not only for scholars of American literature and culture, but also offering resources for advanced undergraduate science and history of science courses that might incorporate textual studies work.

Please send a 500-word abstract or completed essay to both Tina Gianquitto (tinagian@mines.edu) and Lydia Fisher (lfisher@pugetsound.edu) by January 5. Inquires welcome.

Submissions should contain the author’s name and contact information (e-mail, postal address, phone, and fax numbers), and the working title of the proposed submission. Submitted manuscripts should be between 20-25 pages and formatted in MLA style.

Further Information:
http://www.aseh.net/announcements/cfp-darwin

New and Forthcoming Darwin & Evolution Books

First up (chuckle chuckle):

Secrets of the Sixth Edition by Randall Hedtke:

Darwins On the Origin of the Species was originally released in 1859, and by 1872, the sixth and last edition was published, becoming the defining text for evolutionists. This controversial work has become the foundation of modern textbooks for scientific studies in origins, though Darwin himself expressed deep doubts about his own speculations and suppositions. Secrets of the Sixth Editionby Randall Hedtke exposes the critical flaws of this landmark book by using Darwin’s own words against him. Provides an examination of Darwins research and the faulty basis of his scientific writings. Filled with extensive documentation looking at the fatal flaws in Darwins assumptions. Addresses strategies for possible changes to curriculum to address weaknesses in the evolutionary hypothesis. Take an insightful look at Darwins work and its inaccuracies from a fresh and logical perspective. You will discover the often ignored reasoning behind his own abandonment of some of the core mechanisms of evolution later in his life, though they remain unchallenged pillars of unquestioning science today. This informative and east-to-read study boldly declares the powerful truth that only biblical creation can explain. [Randall Hedtke has read, written, and taught about the controversy of creation-evolution for decades. The basis for much of the Secrets of the Sixth Edition were originally formed in a series of essays originally published in the Creation Research Society Quarterly.]

Now to more serious books:

Emma Darwin: A Victorian Life by James D. Loy and Kent M. Loy:

After Charles Darwin’s world-changing HMS Beagle voyage, he found a loyal protector and editor when in 1839 he married Emma Wedgwood (1808–1896) as he sought to document his naturalist and revolutionary scientific ideas. The authors (James is an anthropologist at the University of Rhode Island; Kent is a freelance writer) give us the family’s life from the viewpoint of the “lively and outspoken” Emma, as derived from two volumes of her letters and daily notations. The events they describe include the family’s campaigns against slavery and vivisection. Darwin became increasingly agnostic while Emma was religious (their passel of children were spiritually indifferent), but they lived in mutual respect and upper-class comfort through much of the Victorian era. In spite of Emma’s concentration on her children and extended family, she passionately followed politics and global concerns such as the American Civil War and Irish unrest. The authors’ casual diagnosis of physical and mental ailments mildly mars an otherwise excellent portrait of the English elite during the age of British scientific discovery.

Literature After Darwin: Human Beasts in Western Fiction 1859-1939 (Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-century Writing and Culture) by Virginia Richter:

What makes us human? Where is the limit between human and animal? Is the human species the contingent result of blind evolutionary processes? These pressing questions haunt literature in the wake of Darwin’s shocking claim that humans and apes are descended from a common ancestor. Anxiety concerning the status of humankind is a central theme in Victorian and modernist fiction, ranging from ‘ape narratives’ (e.g. the Tarzan series) to fantastic encounters with missing links, primeval men and ‘races of the future’. All are pervaded by the spectres of degeneration and dehumanisation as well as by apocalyptic visions of the end of humankind. The exploration of these existential anxieties and their various literary expressions stands at the centre of this study which offers detailed and original analyses of a broad range of literary texts, covering the period between the publication of the Origin of Species and the beginning of the Second World War.

Evolutionary Restraints: The Contentious History of Group Selection by Mark E. Borrello:

Much of the history of the evolutionary debate since Darwin has focused on the level at which natural selection occurs. Most biologists acknowledge multiple levels of selection—from the gene, the trait, and the organism, to the family, the group, and  the species. However, it is the debate about group selection that Mark E. Borrello focuses on in Evolutionary Restraints. Tracing the history of biological attempts to determine whether selection could lead to the evolution of fitter groups, Borrello takes as his focus the British naturalist V. C. Wynne-Edwards, who proposed that animals could regulate their own population levels and thereby avoid overexploitation of their food and other resources. By the mid-twentieth century, Wynne-Edwards became the primary advocate for group selection theory, and precipitated a debate that engaged the most significant evolutionary biologists including Ernst Mayr, John Maynard Smith, G.C. Williams and Richard Dawkins. The resultant interpretations and arguments bled out into broader conversations about population regulation, environmental crises, and the evolution of human and animal social behavior. Evolutionary Restraints illuminates both the process of science and the role of controversy in the process. From its origins in Darwin’s own thinking, this debate, Borrello reminds us, remains relevant and alive to this day.

Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology by Alister McGrath:

There remains a widespread perception that Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection marked the demise of any viable Christian natural theology – most notably, that of William Paley. But did Darwinism really shake such fundamental beliefs to the core? Or did Darwin’s “dangerous idea” instead serve to transform and illuminate our views on the relation between the natural world and the divine? Darwinism and the Divine presents a detailed examination of the implications of evolutionary thought for natural theology, from the publication of On the Origin of Species more than a century-and-a-half ago through to the present day. Integrating and extending the latest scholarly research from across a wide variety of disciplines, world-renowned theologian Alister E. McGrath first explores the forms of natural theology that emerged in England from the late 17th century until 1850, showing us how these views were affected by the advent of Darwin’s theories. McGrath offers the most detailed account of the intellectual background to William Paley’s natural theology currently available, and offers an informed assessment of the impact of Darwin on such approaches. He then considers how Christian belief has adapted to Darwinism, and whether there is a place for design both in the world of science and the world of theology. Journeying well beyond On the Origin of the SpeciesDarwinism and the Divine offers a scholarly and thought-provoking consideration of the co-existence of natural theology with Darwinism in today’s world.

Evolution Before Darwin by Pietro Corsi:

In many people’s minds, biology was mired in confusion and superstition until Darwin came, and then there was light. But evolutionary ideas have a long history, and moreover to this day, in France, Lamarck is revered as Darwin’s great predecessor, not as ‘the man who got it wrong’. Evolution was a topic of much debate in France, and also to a lesser extent in Germany and in Italy. Early in the 19th century, geology was all the rage, while arguments about time and the nature of species – were they created, did they change with time – was much discussed. So why did a Darwin appear in England? And moreover why at the end of the 1850s? And why was the response and public take-up of evolutionary ideas so rapid and positive? These are the questions Pietro Corsi considers in this book. He describes the debates in France, Germany, and Italy surrounding Lamarck’s ideas about changing species, against the backdrop of changing political climates (the defeat of Napoleon and its aftermath). And while Continental Europe was convulsed by the 1848 revolutions, and Italy was in the throes of unification, in England perceptions of evolutionary ideas shifted from being associated with dangerous Continental radicalism and atheism, to part of reform and progress. Corsi shows how intellectual opinion shifted in England, driven by such figures as Baden Powell (grandfather of the founder of the boy scouts), and fierce debates on science and religion. The intention of this book is not to undermine Darwin, whose accomplishments as an individual require no justification, but to put him and his work in historical context, and more pertinently in the context of social, political, and intellectual developments in Britain and the Continent. This is an extraordinarily rich and novel discussion involving the history of the development of perhaps the single greatest idea in the life sciences, written by one of the foremost scholars in the field.

Charles Darwin and the Question of Evolution: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture) by Sandra Herbert:

The publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859 is widely regarded as a turning point in knowledge of the natural world. But Darwin’s theory of natural selection was not developed in a vacuum; rather, it represents the culmination of an enormous shift in scientific and popular opinion on the subject of species mutability from the late eighteenth century onward. Through her insightful introduction and engaging collection of documents, Sandra Herbert examines this era of scientific thought and the startling discoveries that led Darwin and others to the conclusion that life has evolved. A wide range of documents from over a dozen authors — including letters, illustrations, scientific tracts, and excerpts from Darwin’s own notebooks and On the Origin of Species — offer a fascinating glimpse into this crucial era of scientific thought. Thoughtful document headnotes, questions for consideration, a chronology, and a selected bibliography provide students with additional context and pedagogical support.

Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards: Philosophical Essays on Darwin’s Theory (Prometheus Prize) by Elliot Sober:

Sensitive to the ways in which Darwin’s outlook differed from that of many biologists today, the main topics that are the focus of this book-common ancestry, group selection, sex ratio, and naturalism-have rarely been discussed in such penetrating detail.

From Man to Ape: Darwinism in Argentina, 1870-1920 by Adriana Novoa and Alex Levine:

Upon its publication, The Origin of Species was critically embraced in Europe and North America. But how did Darwin’s theories fare in other regions of the world? Adriana Novoa and Alex Levine offer here a history and interpretation of the reception of Darwinism in Argentina, illuminating the ways culture shapes scientific enterprise. In order to explore how Argentina’s particular interests, ambitions, political anxieties, and prejudices shaped scientific research, From Man to Ape focuses on Darwin’s use of analogies. Both analogy and metaphor are culturally situated, and by studying scientific activity at Europe’s geographical and cultural periphery, Novoa and Levine show that familiar analogies assume unfamiliar and sometimes startling guises in Argentina. The transformation of these analogies in the Argentine context led science—as well as the interaction between science, popular culture, and public policy—in surprising directions. In diverging from European models, Argentine Darwinism reveals a great deal about both Darwinism and science in general. Novel in its approach and its subject, From Man to Ape reveals a new way of understanding Latin American science and its impact on the scientific communities of Europe and North America.

The Victorian Reinvention of Race: New Racisms and the Problem of Grouping in the Human Sciences (Routledge Studies in Modern British History) by Edward Beasley:

In mid-Victorian England there were new racial categories based upon skin colour. The ‘races’ familiar to those in the modern west were invented and elaborated after the decline of faith in Biblical monogenesis in the early nineteenth century, and before the maturity of modern genetics in the middle of the twentieth. Not until the early nineteenth century would polygenetic and racialist theories win many adherents. But by the middle of the nineteenth century in England, racial categories were imposed upon humanity. How the idea of ‘race’ gained popularity in England at that time is the central focus of The Victorian Reinvention of Race: New Racisms and the Problem of Grouping in the Human Sciences. Scholars have linked this new racism to some very dodgy thinkers. The Victorian Reinvention of Race examines a more influential set of the era’s writers and colonial officials, some French but most of them British. Attempting to do serious social analysis, these men oversimplified humanity into biologically-heritable, mentally and morally unequal, colour-based ‘races’. Thinkers giving in to this racist temptation included Alexis de Tocqueville when he was writing on Algeria; Arthur de Gobineau (who influenced the Nazis); Walter Bagehot of The Economist; and Charles Darwin (whose Descent of Man was influenced by Bagehot). Victorians on Race also examines officials and thinkers (such as Tocqueville in Democracy in America, the Duke of Argyll, and Governor Gordon of Fiji) who exercised methodological care, doing the hard work of testing their categories against the evidence. They analyzed human groups without slipping into racial categorization. Author Edward Beasley examines the extent to which the Gobineau-Bagehot-Darwin way of thinking about race penetrated the minds of certain key colonial governors. He further explores the hardening of the rhetoric of race-prejudice in some quarters in England in the nineteenth century – the processes by which racism was first formed.

The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology) by Richard A. Richards:

There is long-standing disagreement among systematists about how to divide biodiversity into species. Over twenty different species concepts are used to group organisms, according to criteria as diverse as morphological or molecular similarity, interbreeding and genealogical relationships. This, combined with the implications of evolutionary biology, raises the worry that either there is no single kind of species, or that species are not real. This book surveys the history of thinking about species from Aristotle to modern systematics in order to understand the origin of the problem, and advocates a solution based on the idea of the division of conceptual labor, whereby species concepts function in different ways – theoretically and operationally. It also considers related topics such as individuality and the metaphysics of evolution, and how scientific terms get their meaning. This important addition to the current debate will be essential for philosophers and historians of science, and for biologists.

Hosts of Living Forms (Penguin Great Ideas) by Charles Darwin:

Charles Darwin transformed our understanding of the world with the idea of natural selection, challenging the notion that species are fixed and unchanging. These writings from “On the Origin of Species” explain how different life forms appear all over the globe, evolve over millions of years, become extinct and are supplanted. “Great Ideas” – Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes by Christopher Wills:

In The Darwinian Tourist, biologist Christopher Wills takes us on a series of adventures–exciting in their own right–that demonstrate how ecology and evolution have interacted to create the world we live in. Some of these adventures, like his SCUBA dives in the incredibly diverse Lembeh Strait in Indonesia or his encounter with a wild wolf cub in western Mongolia, might have been experienced by any reasonably intrepid traveller. Others, like his experience of being hammered by a severe earthquake off the island of Yap while sixty feet down in the ocean, filming manta rays, stand far outside the ordinary. With his own stunning color photographs of the wildlife he discovered on his travels, Wills not only takes us to these far-off places but, more important, draws out the evolutionary stories behind the wildlife and shows how our understanding of the living world can be deepened by a Darwinian perspective. In addition, the book offers an extensive and unusual view of human evolution, examining the entire sweep of our evolutionary story as it has taken place throughout the Old World. The reader comes away with a renewed sense of wonder about the world’s astounding diversity, along with a new appreciation of the long evolutionary history that has led to the wonders of the present-day. When we lose a species or an ecosystem, Wills shows us, we also lose many millions of years of history. Published to coincide with the International Year for Biodiversity, The Darwinian Tourist is packed with globe-trotting exploits, brilliant color photography, and eye-opening insights into the evolution of humanity and the natural world.

Evolutionary Mythology in the Writings of Kurt Vonnegut: Darwin,Vonnegut and the Construction of an American Culture by Gilbert McGinnis:

This research monograph is an important contribution to the study of the author, Kurt Vonnegut and the great evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin. The book examines Darwin s influence on the American culture that were Vonnegut’s major focus and interest and the source of his importance as a major American writer of the later half of the 20th century. This book is relevant in its attempt to understand, in Vonnegut s novels, how Darwin s theory of evolution functions as a cosmogonic myth that is widely accepted in order to explain why the world is as it is and why things happen as they do, to provide a rationale for social customs and observances, and to establish the sanctions for the rules by which Vonnegut s characters conduct their lives. Moreover, this book deals with how and why Kurt Vonnegut s fiction represents the changing human image resulting from Darwinism. The author discovered and developed his literary theory of Evolution as a Mythology from the novel Galapagos (Kurt Vonnegut,1985). McInnis persuasively developed theory suggests changes to the American (and English) literary landscape with a new and dynamic way to interpret literature, something the literary field has not seen since since Jean-Francois Lyotard described his ideas on narrative in his essay, the Postmodern Condition, published in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction in the early 1980s.

Lincoln and Darwin: Shared Visions of Race, Science, and Religion by James Lander:

Born on the same day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were true contemporaries.  Though shaped by vastly different environments, they had remarkably similar values, purposes, and approaches. In this exciting new study, James Lander places these two iconic men side by side and reveals the parallel views they shared of man and God. While Lincoln is renowned for his oratorical prowess and for the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as many other accomplishments, his scientific and technological interests are not widely recognized; for example, many Americans do not know that Lincoln is the only U.S. president to obtain a patent. Darwin, on the other hand, is celebrated for his scientific achievements but not for his passionate commitment to the abolition of slavery, which in part drove his research in evolution. Both men took great pains to avoid causing unnecessary offense despite having abandoned traditional Christianity. Each had one main adversary who endorsed scientific racism: Lincoln had Stephen A. Douglas, and Darwin had Louis Agassiz. With graceful and sophisticated writing, Lander expands on these commonalities and uncovers more shared connections to people, politics, and events. He traces how these two intellectual giants came to hold remarkably similar perspectives on the evils of racism, the value of science, and the uncertainties of conventional religion. Separated by an ocean but joined in their ideas, Lincoln and Darwin acted as trailblazers, leading their societies toward greater freedom of thought and a greater acceptance of human equality. This fascinating biographical examination brings the mid-nineteenth-century discourse about race, science, and humanitarian sensibility to the forefront using the mutual interests and pursuits of these two historic figures.

Until Darwin, Science, Human Variety and the Origins of Race by B. Ricardo Brown:

Until the publication of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”, the prevailing theory on ‘the species question’ was that humans were made up of five separate species, created at different times and in different places. This view – known as the ‘polygenic theory’ – was particularly favoured by naturalists of the early nineteenth century ‘American School’ as it provided a scientific justification for slavery. Darwin’s Origin demolished this view. This work fills a gap in recent studies on the history of race and science. Focusing on both the classification systems of human variety and the development of science as the arbiter of truth, Brown looks at the rise of the emerging sciences of life and society – biology and sociology – as well as the debate surrounding slavery and abolition.

Evolutionary Theory and the Creation Controversy by Oliver Rieppel:

Evolutionary theory addresses the phenomenon of the origin and diversity of plant and animal species that we observe. In recent times, however, it has become a predominant ideology which has gained currency far beyond its original confines. Attempts to understand the origin and historical development of human culture, civilization and language, of the powers of human cognition, and even the origin of the moral and ethical values guiding and constraining everyday life in human societies are now cast in an evolutionary context. In “Evolutionary Theory and the Creation Controversy” the author examines evolutionary theory from a historical perspective, explaining underlying metaphysical backgrounds and fundamental philosophical questions such as the paradoxical problem of change, existence and creation. He introduces the scientists involved, their research results and theories, and discusses the evolution of evolutionary theory against the background of Creationism and Intelligent Design.

PODCAST: [More] More Darwin Podcasts from Endless Forms Exhibit

As part of hosting the art exhibit Endless Forms: Darwin, Natural Science & the Arts (opened June 16th), the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England is doing a series of podcasts. I have posted the first 13 episodes so far (herehere, here, and here), and here are a few more:

14. Evolving Images: Race and Popular Darwinism in Nineteenth-Century Photography (with Elizabeth Edwards)

15. Between Apes and Angels: Representing the Darker Implications of Darwinism (with Dr. Marek Kohn)

16. Struggles and Strikes: The “Survival of the Fittest’ in Art and Literature (with Dame Gillan Beer)

Recent & Forthcoming Darwin Books

Darwin’s Dogs: How Darwin’s Pets Helped Form a World-changing Theory of Evolution by Emma Townshend:

If you have ever looked at a dog waiting to go for a walk and thought there was something age-old and almost human about his sad expression, you’re not alone; Charles Darwin did exactly the same. But Darwin didn’t just stop at feeling that there was some connection between humans and dogs. English gentleman naturalist, great pioneer of the theory of evolution and incurable dog-lover, Darwin used his much-loved dogs as evidence in his continuing argument that all animals including human beings, descended from one common ancestor. From his fondly written letters home enquiring after the health of family pets to his profound scientific consideration of the ancestry of the domesticated dog, Emma Townshend looks at Darwin’s life and work from a uniquely canine perspective. 

Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (3rd ed.) by Gillian Beer:

Gillian Beer’s classic Darwin’s Plots, one of the most influential works of literary criticism and cultural history of the last quarter century, is here reissued in an updated edition to coincide with the anniversary of Darwin’s birth and of the publication of The Origin of Species. Its focus on how writers, including George Eliot, Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hardy, responded to Darwin’s discoveries and to his innovations in scientific language continues to open up new approaches to Darwin’s thought and to its effects in the culture of his contemporaries. This third edition includes an important new essay that investigates Darwin’s concern with consciousness across all forms of organic life. It demonstrates how this fascination persisted throughout his career and affected his methods and discoveries. With an updated bibliography reflecting recent work in the field, this book will retain its place at the heart of Victorian studies.

The Voyage of the “Beagle”: Journals and Remarks [ABRIDGED Audio CD] by Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins:

A definite precursor to “On The Origin of Species”, this non-fiction travel journal is a fascinating record of Darwin’s observations of far-flung civilisations and the flora, fauna and human life he found there. His journey took in: Santiago – Cape Verde Islands; Saint Peter and Paul Rocks; Rio de Janeiro; Maldonado; Rio Negro to Bahia Blanca; Bahia Blanca; Bahia Blanca to Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires and St. Fe; Banda Oriental and Patagonia; Santa Cruz, Patagonia, and The Falkland Islands; Tierra del Fuego; Strait of Magellan; Climate of the Southern Coasts; Central Chile; Chiloe Island and Chonos Islands; Concepcion: Great Earthquake; Passage of the Cordillera; Northern Chile and Peru Galapagos; Archipelago Tahiti and New Zealand; Australia; Keeling Island – Coral Formations; and Mauritius to England. Darwin spent much of the voyage exploring on-land rather than at sea, and his explorations led to the beginnings of ‘evolutionary’ theories. He observed, for example, how finches’ beaks varied and seemed localized in shape and form to particular islands or climates. Thus emerged the notion that a kind of ‘natural selection’ rather than a divine power may be responsible – each creature adapting physically to its particular environment over generations. This is an incredibly important and enlightening non-fiction work. 

Darwin in Scotland: Edinburgh, Evolution and Enlightenment by J.F. Derry:

This is the first book on Darwin and Darwinism that wholly concentrates on his time spent in Scotland and the key contributions to his future insights made by the Scottish Enlightenment and the University of Edinburgh. Darwin developed his theories because he attended Edinburgh University – although he participated little in formal tuition, it was through interaction with his tutors, peers and extracurricular groups that he was exposed to an ethos of naturalistic philosophy rooted in the Scottish Enlightenment and, by direct descent, the Ancient Greeks. If he had bypassed Scotland and gone straight to Cambridge, his education would have been theologically-based and unlikely to have given him the perspective that led him to question the prevailing doctrine. It is also the first book to explore the subsequent impact of his work on modern day biologists at the University of Edinburgh. How far have we moved on since Darwin made his discoveries? Are his theories still relevant to modern-day science? Can we say if they will be relevant in the future? And, what should we be teaching future generations? The relevance of Darwin in debate is as important and volatile now as when “The Origin of Species” was first published a century and a half ago. Science and religion seem to have reached an impasse. Intelligent Design, the conflicting view to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, is the new kid on the block that the science gang wants nothing to do with. All the major issues in evolutionary study are covered here, through interviews with scientists, educators and creationists. They include some of the world leaders in the biological sciences at Edinburgh University, and they are most revealing about what Darwin has meant to them and their work. 

The Darwins of Shrewsbury by Andrew Pattison:

Many people have written biographies of Charles Darwin, but the story of his family and roots in Shrewsbury is little known. This book, containing original research, fills that gap. The key player is Charles’ father, Dr Robert Darwin, a larger-than-life character whose financial acumen enabled Charles to spend his whole life on research unencumbered by money worries. Through Susannah, Charles’ mother, we are introduced to the Wedgwood family, whose history was so closely interwoven with the Darwins. The stories of Charles’ five siblings are detailed, and there is a wealth of local material, such as information on Shrewsbury School and its illustrious headmaster, Samuel Butler. The book is fully illustrated with contemporary and modern pictures, and will be of interest to anyone wanting to discover more about the development of Shrewsbury’s most famous son.

Darwin in the Archives: Papers on Charles Darwin from the Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History and Archives of Natural History, edited by Charles Nelson and Duncan M. Porter:

A Special Publication of the journal Archives of Natural History to coincide with the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth.

Philosophy After Darwin: Classic and Contemporary Readings by Michael Ruse

Charles Darwin: After the Origin by Sheila Ann Dean:

What did Charles Darwin do during the 22 years after the Origin of Species was published? “Charles Darwin: After the Origin,” a new book by Darwin scholar Sheila Ann Dean, answers that question and many others about the work Darwin undertook while controversies instigated by the Origin stirred the Victorian world. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the international Darwin Day celebration, the book serves as a companion piece to the to the collaborative 2009 exhibition at Cornell University Library and the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI). Dean is a guest curator and visiting scholar at the Library, and her book is published by Cornell University Library and PRI.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller and Nicholle Rager Fuller

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins:

In a brilliant follow-up to his blockbuster The God Delusion, Dawkins lays out the evidence for evolution. 

Darwin in Ilkley by Mike Dixon and Gregory Radick

Voyage Round the World: Charles Darwin and the Beagle Collections in Cambridge University by Alison M. Pearn

Darwin: Art and the Search for Origins:

2009 is a double jubilee for Charles Darwin (1809-1882). The world celebrates his 200th birthday and also the 150th anniversary of the first edition of his epoch-making title On the Origin of Species. This book revolutionized the knowledge of biology and led to hot debates between scientists around the world. The present work for the first time documents the influence of Darwinism to the fine arts. The famous Frankfurt museum Schirn presents 150 paintings, drawings and lithographs as well as rare and ex?ceptional documentations. The exhibition includes works by Frederic Church, Frantiek Kupka, Odilon Redon, George Frederic Watts, Arnold Bcklin, Max Ernst and many more thus covering a period from 1859 to the middle of the 20th century.

Darwin’s Notebook: The Life, Times, and Discoveries of Charles Robert Darwin by Jonathan Clements:

Darwin’s Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution by John Holmes:

Darwin’s Bards is the first comprehensive study of how poets have responded to the ideas of Charles Darwin in over fifty years. John Holmes argues that poetry can have a profound impact on how we think and feel about the Darwinian condition. Is a Darwinian universe necessarily a godless one? If not, what might Darwinism tell us about the nature of God? Is Darwinism compatible with immortality, and if not, how can we face our own deaths or the loss of those we love? What is our own place in the Darwinian universe, and our ecological role here on earth? How does our kinship with other animals affect how we see them? How does the fact that we are animals ourselves alter how we think about our own desires, love and sexual morality? All told, is life in a Darwinian universe grounds for celebration or despair? Holmes explores the ways in which some of the most perceptive and powerful British and American poets of the last hundred-and-fifty years have grappled with these questions, from Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning and Thomas Hardy, through Robert Frost and Edna St Vincent Millay, to Ted Hughes, Thom Gunn, Amy Clampitt and Edwin Morgan. Reading their poetry, we too can experience what it can mean to live in a Darwinian world. Written in an accessible and engaging style, and aimed at scientists, theologians, philosophers and ecologists as well as poets, critics and students of literature, Darwin’s Bards is a timely intervention into the heated debates over Darwin’s legacy for religion, ecology and the arts. 

In the Wake of the Beagle: Science in the Southern Oceans from the Age of Darwin, edited by Nigel Erskine and Iain McCalman:

This book shows the importance of the southern oceans to Darwin’s theories. Publication coincides with the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of publication of “On the Origin of Species”. This highly illustrated and beautifully designed full-colour book will examine Darwin (and his contemporaries) from a very modern perspective, linking their voyages with today’s scientific developments and debates about climate change, ecology and creationism. Strange as it may seem, the long wake of the tiny HMS Beagle stretches from the nineteenth century into the future of our globe. Charles Darwin spent only three months in Australia, but Australasia and the Pacific contributed to his evolutionary thinking in a variety of ways. One hundred and fifty years after the publication of “On the Origin of Species” the internationally acclaimed authors of “In the Wake of the Beagle” provide new insights into the world of collecting, surveying and cross-cultural exchange in the antipodes in the age of Darwin. They explore the groundbreaking work of Darwin and his contemporaries Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley and Alfred Wallace, examine the complex trading relationships of the region’s daring voyagers, and take a very modern look at today’s cutting-edge scientific research, at a time when global warming has raised the stakes to an unprecedented level.

The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution by Carl Zimmer:

The Tangled Bank is the first textbook about evolution intended for the general reader. Zimmer, an award-winning science writer, takes readers on a fascinating journey into the latest discoveries about evolution. In the Canadian Arctic, paleontologists unearth fossils documenting the move of our ancestors from sea to land. In the outback of Australia, a zoologist tracks some of the world’s deadliest snakes to decipher the 100-million-year evolution of venom molecules. In Africa, geneticists are gathering DNA to probe the origin of our species. In clear, non-technical language, Zimmer explains the central concepts essential for understanding new advances in evolution, including natural selection, genetic drift, and sexual selection. He demonstrates how vital evolution is to all branches of modern biology–from the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the analysis of the human genome. Richly illustrated with over 300 illustrations and photographs, The Tangled Bank is essential reading for anyone who wants understand the history of life on Earth.

Darwin’s Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution by Philip Prodger:

Darwin’s Camera tells the extraordinary story of how Charles Darwin not only changed the course of science; he forever changed the way pictures are seen and made. In his illustrated masterpiece, Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1871), Darwin introduced the idea of using photographs to illustrate a scientific theory–his was the first photographically-illustrated science book ever published. Using photographs to depict fleeting expressions of emotion–laughter, crying, anger, and so on–as they flit across a person’s face, he managed to produce dramatic images at a time when photography was famously slow and awkward. The things he wanted to photograph changed too quickly to be photographed easily, and he struggled to get the pictures he needed. So he scoured the galleries, bookshops, and photographic studios of London, looking for pictures to satisfy his demand for expressive imagery. He finally settled on one the giants of photographic history, the eccentric art photographer Oscar Rejlander, to make his pictures. It was a peculiar choice. Darwin was known for his meticulous science, while Rejlander was notorious for altering and manipulating photographs. Their remarkable collaboration, and the lengths they went to to create the pictures Darwin needed, is one of the astonishing revelations in Darwin’s Camera. Darwin never studied art formally, but he was always interested in art and often drew on art knowledge as his work unfolded. He studied art as a student and befriended the artists on the voyage of HMS Beagle, he visited art museums to examine figures and animals in paintings, he made friends with artists, and read art history books. He befriended the celebrated animal painters Joseph Wolf and Briton Riviere, and accepted the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner as a trusted guide. He corresponded with legendary photographers Lewis Caroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, and G.-B. Duchenne de Boulogne, as well as many lesser lights. Darwin’s Camera provides the first examination ever of these relationships and their effect on Darwin’s work, and how Darwin, in turn, shaped the history of art. 

The Darwin Experience: The Story of the Man and His Theory of Evolution by John van Wyhe

But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Updated Edition, edited by Robert T. Pennock and Michael Ruse:

Updated Edition On December 20, 2005, a U.S. district court in Dover, Pennsylvania, ruled in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board that teaching Intelligent Design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The judge explained that Intelligent Design is not science and “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.” This case was just the latest attempt by proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism to undermine the teaching of evolution in high school biology classes. The emotionally charged controversy, which has been going on since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, shows no sign of letting up. This excellent collection, now fully updated, will inform readers about the history of the debate and bring philosophical clarity to the complex arguments on both sides. The editors, both of whom served as expert witnesses in two different court cases, start by chronicling the heated discussion that surrounded the publication of Darwin’s famous work. In the next part, they present articles that explicate modern evolutionary theory, including philosophical critiques by Karl Popper and others. The selections that follow discuss so-called Creation Science, focusing in particular on the 1981 McLean court case in Arkansas. In the final section, the philosophical issues surrounding the distinction between religion and science in the most recent Kitzmiller case are considered. This outstanding overview of an important contemporary debate shows that philosophy has a vital role to play in major decisions affecting education and interpretations of science and religion. 

Charles Darwin’s Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle:

This is the first full edition of the notebooks used by Darwin during his epic voyage in the Beagle. It contains transcriptions of all fifteen notebooks, which now survive as some of the most precious documents in the history of science. The notebooks record the entire range of Darwin’s interests and activities during the Beagle journey, with observations on geology, zoology, botany, ecology, barometer and thermometer readings, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology and linguistics, along with maps, drawings, financial records, shopping lists, reading notes, essays and personal diary entries. Some of Darwin’s critical discoveries and experiences, made famous through his own publications, are recorded in their most immediate form in the notebooks, and published here for the first time. The notebook texts are accompanied by full editorial apparatus and introductions explaining Darwin’s actions at each stage, focussing on discoveries that were pivotal to convincing him that life on Earth had evolved.

Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution by David F. Prindle:

Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould was, until his death in 2002, America’s best-known natural scientist. His monthly essays in Natural History magazine were widely read by both scientists and ordinary citizens with an interest in science. One of his books won the National Book Award, and another was a bestseller in three countries. Philosopher Daniel Dennett proclaimed him “America’s evolutionist laureate.” While many people have written about Gould’s science, pro and con, and a few have written about his politics, this is the first book to explore his science and politics as a consistent whole. Political scientist David F. Prindle argues that Gould’s mind worked along two tracks simultaneously –the scientific and the political. All of his concepts and arguments were bona fide contributions to science, but all of them also contained specifically political implications. As one example among many, Prindle cites Gould’s controversial argument that if the “tape of evolution” could be rewound and then allowed to unspool again, nothing resembling human beings would likely evolve. This was part of his larger thesis that people are not the result of a natural tendency toward perfection in evolution, but the result of chance, or as Gould put it, contingency. As Prindle notes, Gould s scientific ideas often sought to attack human hubris, and thus prepare the ground for the political argument that people should treat nature with more restraint. Prindle evaluates Gould’s concepts of punctuated equilibrium (developed with Niles Eldredge), “spandrels”, and “exaptation”; his stance on sociobiology, on human inequality and intelligence testing; his pivotal role in the culture wars between science and fundamentalist Christianity; and claims that he was a closet Marxist, which Prindle disputes. He continually emphasizes that in all these debates Gould’s science cannot be understood without an understanding of his politics. He concludes by considering whether Gould offered a new theory of evolution. Anyone with an interest in one of America’s great scientists, or in paleontology, evolutionary theory, or intellectual history will find Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution to be a fascinating exploration of the man and his ideas. 

Defining Darwin: Essays on the History and Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology by Michael Ruse:

Michael Ruse is one of the foremost Charles Darwin scholars of our time. For forty years he has written extensively on Darwin, the scientific revolution that his work precipitated, and the nature and implications of evolutionary thinking for today. Now, in the year marking the two hundredth anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of his masterpiece, On the “Origin of Species”, Ruse re-evaluates the legacy of Darwin in this collection of new and recent essays. Beginning with pre-Darwinian concepts of organic origins proposed by the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant, Ruse shows the challenges that Darwin’s radically different idea faced. He then discusses natural selection as a powerful metaphor; Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution; Herbert Spencer’s contribution to evolutionary biology; the synthesis of Mendelian genetics and natural selection; the different views of Julian Huxley and George Gaylord Simpson on evolutionary ethics; and the influence of Darwin’s ideas on literature. In the final section, Ruse brings the discussion up to date with a consideration of ‘evolutionary development’ (dubbed ‘evo devo’) as a new evolutionary paradigm and the effects of Darwin on religion, especially the debate surrounding Intelligent Design theory. Ruse offers a fresh perspective on topics old and new, challenging the reader to think again about the nature and consequences of what has been described as the biggest idea ever conceived.

Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America by Cannon Schmitt:

When the young Charles Darwin landed on the shores of Tierra del Fuego in 1832, he was overwhelmed: nothing had prepared him for the sight of what he called ‘an untamed savage’. The shock he felt, repeatedly recalled in later years, definitively shaped his theory of evolution. In this original and wide-ranging study, Cannon Schmitt shows how Darwin and other Victorian naturalists transformed such encounters with South America and its indigenous peoples into influential accounts of biological and historical change. Redefining what it means to be human, they argue that the modern self must be understood in relation to a variety of pasts – personal, historical, and ancestral – conceived of as savage. Schmitt reshapes our understanding of Victorian imperialism, revisits the implications of Darwinian theory, and demonstrates the pertinence of nineteenth-century biological thought to current theorizations of memory.

Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) by Matt Young and Paul K. Strode:

Focusing on what other books omit, how science works and how pseudoscience works, Matt Young and Paul K. Strode demonstrate the futility of “scientific” creationism. They debunk the notion of intelligent design and other arguments that show evolution could not have produced life in its present form. Concluding with a frank discussion of science and religion, Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) argues that science by no means excludes religion, though it ought to cast doubt on certain religious claims that are contrary to known scientific fact. 

The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinisms, and Visual Culture, edited by Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer:

Inspired by the Charles Darwin bicentennial, The Art of Evolution presents a collection of essays by international scholars renowned for their ground-breaking work on Darwin. The book not only includes a discussion of the popular imagery that immediately followed the publication of On the Origin of Species, but it also traces the impact of Darwin’s ideas on visual culture over time and throughout the Western world. The contributors analyze the visual expression of a broad range of Darwin-inspired subjects, including eugenics, aesthetics and sexual selection, monera and protoplasm theories, social Darwinism and colonialism, the Taylorized body, and the natural history of surrealism. The visual imagery responding to Darwin and Darwinism ranges from popular caricature to state propaganda to major trends within Modern Art and Modernism. This rarely addressed subject will enrich our understanding of Darwin’s impact across disciplines and reveal how transformations in science were manifested visually in so many enticingly unexpected ways.

Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism 1862-1864 by Marsha Driscoll et al.:

Part of the “Reacting to the Past” series, this text consists of a game in which students experience firsthand the tension between natural and teleological views of the world–manifested especially in reconsideration of the design argument commonly known through William Paley’s Natural Theology or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (1802).

VIDEO: Piers Hale on Charles Darwin

Piers Hale, who teaches the history of science at the University of Oklahoma, is currently studying Charles Kinglsey’s The Water Babies:

The controversial nineteenth-century Anglican Priest, Charles Kingsley, who is today best remembered for his charming children’s story Water Babies (1863), arguably deserves a prominent place in the history of Darwinism in England. Kingsley, an amateur naturalist and geologist of some repute, was a correspondent and friend of Darwin and his closest circle. Kingsley gave Darwin his unreserved support from the first, and in doing so significantly advanced Darwinian science in England in ways and among people that Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s agnostic Bulldog could not. Importantly, although it is usually to the Harvard botanist Asa Gray that historians have turned in their consideration of the philosophical and metaphysical implications of Darwinian selection, it was Kingsley who accepted the thoroughly contingent nature of evolution by natural selection.

See his recent article, “Water Babies: an evolutionary parable,” in the December 2008 issue of Endeavour. Hale is also part of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project.

Darwin from Trevor Owens

Darwin Iconography at NAS

Darwin Iconography at NAS

I just came across the blog of Trevor Owens (“proto-historian and humanities technology evangelist”). He  has a recent post concerning Darwin and two from last year I’d like to share:

Suprises in Early Children’s Books About Evolution

Scientists in Action: Front Door Iconography At The National Academy of Sciences

Darwin Quest RPG: Making Historical RPGs for Almost Nothing

Videos from Darwin’s Legacy course at Standford

These 10 videos are of presentations from the Stanford Continuing Studies course, Darwin’s Legacy, in September 2008.

Lecture 1: September 22, 2008 introductory lecture by William Durham for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Professor Durham provides an overview of the course; Professor Robert Siegel touches upon “Darwin’s Own Evolution;” Professor Durham returns for a talk on “Darwin’s Data;” and the lecture concludes with a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Lynn Rothschild.

Lecture 2: September 29, 2008 lecture by Eugenie Scott for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Scott explores the evolution vs. creationism debate and provides an argument for evolution. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Brent Sockness and Jeff Wine.

Lecture 3: October 6, 2008 lecture by Janet Browne for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Browne presents a biography on Charles Darwin and explores Darwin’s Origin of Species. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Craig Heller and Robert Proctor.

Lecture 4: October 13, 2008 lecture by Daniel Dennett for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Dennett presents the philosophical importance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Hank Greely and Chris Bobonich.

Lecture 5: October 20, 2008 lecture by Peter and Rosemary Grant for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). The Grants discuss how and why species multiply. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Carol Boggs and Rodolfo Dirzo.

Lecture 6: October 27, 2008 lecture by Niles Eldredge for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Eldredge discusses Darwin’s life and work. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Ward Watt and Liz Hadly.

Lecture 7: November 3, 2008 lecture by Professor Melissa Brown for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Professor Brown speaks about the history and consequences of social Darwinism, and offers insight into new ways of thinking about social evolution.

Lecture 8: November 10, 2008 lecture by Paul Ewald for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Ewald speaks about how several pathogenic viruses have evolved over time to break down the cell’s barriers to several types of cancer. He suggests that further research will aid in the discovery of additional viruses linked to the causation of cancer. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Gary Schoolnik and Stanley Falkow.

Lecture 9: November 17, 2008 lecture by Russell Fernald for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Fernald discusses how social behavior changes the brains of fish, animals, and humans to adapt to situations typically involving mating behaviors. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Eric Knudsen and Charles Junkerman.

Lecture 10: December 1, 2008 lecture by George Levine for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin’s Legacy (DAR 200). Dr. Levine discusses through analysis of Darwin’s literary works, ways of seeing and being enchanted by the world as well as the poetic eloquence of Darwin’s prose. The lecture is concluded with a discussion between Dr. Levine and Rob Polhemus.

Dispersal Event 4/20/2008

Lots of Darwin and related material hanging out in my inbox and feeds.

A good name for an elementary school…

A comparison of Darwin and Darkwing Duck (and a dis at the name Beagle).

A revival of Charles Darwin himself – and his thoughts about The H.M.S. Beagle Project – over at Science Creative Quarterly.

Two pieces of interest from the latest newsletter for the History of Science Society: a write-up about paleontologist and historian of science Martin J.S. Rudwick, author of Bursting the Limits of Time and the forthcoming Worlds Before Adam; and a photo essay about British empire and verticality by Michael S. Reidy (who happens to be my advisor).

A list of Wallace-related events in 2008 at The Alfred Russel Wallace Memorial Fund.
Philly Celebrates the Year of Evolution. And PZ comments.

From the Listserv for the International Societyfor the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology:

1. Call for papers: History of Psychiatry Special Issue: ‘A Hundred Years of Evolutionary Psychiatry (1872-1972).’ This Special Issue seeks to explore the history of evolutionary accounts of mental disorders. For convenience, it will focus on the period 1872-1972 marked by the publication of Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals and Tinbergen’s Early Childhood Autism – An Ethological Approach, respectively. Deadline for proposals: 1 November 2008. http://www.ishpssb.org/listserv/20080327-1.html

2. The Darwin Correspondence Project will award a prize of £1000 for the best student essay on a specific topic in the field of science and religion. The essay should use materials from the Darwin correspondence, but need not be based exclusively on such materials. The prize essay will be published on the Darwin Correspondence Project’s website. Deadline for submissions: 1 June 2008. http://www.ishpssb.org/listserv/20080327-2.html

7. Cambridge University Press has just published Elliott Sober’s book Evidence and Evolution — The Logic Behind the Science. Sober investigates general questions about probability and evidence and shows how the answers he develops to those questions apply to the specifics of evolutionary biology. http://www.ishpssb.org/listserv/20080327-7.html

Emily Ballou – The Darwin Poems at the Science and Literature Reading Group.

The latest Quarterly Review of Biology has a series of articles on science and philosophy.

Darwin on Pure Scientific Research at Siris.

Look, ma! I can quote-mine historians too! at The Panda’s Thumb.

desperate men (street theater) present Darwin and the Dodo in the UK.

Write in Darwinian style (no, not like this, but with this).

Agassiz and Thoreau at A Natural Curiosity.

Browse evolution/Darwin themed cartoons at CartoonStock.

Barnacle Goose Paperworks on The Barnacle Goose Tree (some natural history).

Science and Photography at James Deavin Blog.

Carolus Linnaeus; Floral Clocks at Ysebaileybrooke’s Weblog.

New website: John Davidson — The Legacy of a Canadian Botanist.

IPY Blogs: Photography Comes to the Polar Regions–Almost.

A quick review of Measuring the World at The Geo Factor.

From the HIST-NAT-HIST listserve:

Intute: Health and Life Sciences has just launched a free online resourceguide – the first in a new “Focus on …” series. “Focus on … Conservation” aims to provide useful, detailed, high quality sources of information, particularly for students in Higher and Further Education. The guide may be freely distributed and copied for educational purposes only, and we would welcome comments and feedback. The guide is available on the Intute website at: http://www.intute.ac.uk/supportdocs/focuson/biodiversity.pdf

And finally, Adriann Thysse, of the Mystery of Mysteries (formerly Evolving with Darwin) blog, has been reviewing On the Origin of Species as a personal learning experience in a multitude of posts:

14. Laws of Variation I – Effects of Use and Disuse
13. Natural Selection VII – Divergence of Character
12. Natural Selection VI – Circumstances
11. Natural Selection V – The Benefits of Sex
10. Natural Selection IV – Examples
9. Natural Selection III – Sexual Selection
8. Natural Selection II
7. Natural Selection I
6. Struggle for Existence II
5. Struggle for Existence I
4. Variation under Nature
3. Variation under Domestication
2. The Origin of Species
1. Genesis

"What’s New" at Darwin Online

These were added to The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online between December 13 and 18, 2007:

Darwin, Francis. 1917. Rustic sounds and other studies in literature and natural history. London: John Murray. [Darwin family recollections only]. Text Image

Darwin, C. R. ‘Work finished If not marry’ [Memorandum on marriage]. (1838) Text Image
Darwin, C. R. ‘This is the Question Marry Not Marry’ [Memorandum on marriage]. (7.1838) Text Image
Chancellor, Gordon. ‘Hurrah Chiloe’: an introduction to Beagle field notebook 1.8

Enderby, Charles. 1839. Discoveries in the Antarctic Ocean, in February, 1839. Extracted from the Journal of the schooner Eliza Scott, commanded by Mr. John Balleny. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 9: 517-528. Image

Born This Day (Belated): Erasmus Darwin, physician, poet, and botanist

From Today in Science History:

Erasmus Darwin (Born 12 Dec 1731; died 18 Apr 1802). Prominent English physician, poet, philosopher, botanist, naturalist and the grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin and the biologist Francis Galton. Erasmus Darwin was one of the leading intellectuals of 18th century England. As a naturalist, he formulated one of the first formal theories on evolution in Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life (1794-1796). Although he did not come up with natural selection, he did discuss ideas that his grandson elaborated on sixty years later, such as how life evolved from a single common ancestor, forming “one living filament”. Although some of his ideas on how evolution might occur are quite close to those of Lamarck, Erasmus Darwin also talked about how competition and sexual selection could cause changes in species.

1809 Zoonomia currently up for auction on eBay
Life of Erasmus Darwin at Darwin Online

Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement

Paleoblog also posts on this history of science birthday