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Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199683994
ISBN-10: 0199683999
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Editorial Reviews


"Surreal. You won't be dissapointed." --San Francisco Book Review

Featured in The Society for the History of Natural History's April 2014 Newsletter.

"The edited volume of Letters from the Malay Archipelago will probably be of interest primarily to historians of science. ... The letters are grouped by the country from which Wallace wrote or received them. This will allow a reader an extremely efficient way of accessing particular letters either by the correspondent or by the country; something researchers will appreciate." --Reports of the National Center for Science Education

From the Inside Flap

'these letters contain at one and the same time, the raw material, not only of the most influential of biological theories, but of a thrilling story of exploration and take the reader into the mind of one of the most adventurous, observant, and honourable scientists of his time.'
David Attenborough, in his Introduction
'The book is a valuable addition to the literature on Wallace. The editing is scrupulous and detailed but not intrusive. The texts have been retranscribed and corrected. The illustrations are attractive and judiciously chosen. This is an excellent introduction to the formative years.'
Peter Raby, Literary Review
Between 1854 and 1862 the great Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace travelled in the Malay Archipelago, observing and collecting the wildlife. It was on this famous journey that Wallace independently came up with the concept of natural selection and wrote the fateful letter to Darwin which was to precipitate the publication of The Origin of Species. The letter to Darwin is lost, but collected here in a new transcription are the surviving letters from that journey, both written to and by this quintessential Victorian naturalist and traveller.
Through the letters, we glimpse the excitement and frustrations of Wallace's journey; his enthusiasm and dedication; and the exhilarating discussion of new ideas. More widely, we experience a Victorian world at the inception of a revolution in biology.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199683999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199683994
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I had been looking forward to reading John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker's new book Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago as the adverts for it state that it contains "recently discovered letters". I was keen to see these and add them to our comprehensive online archive of all of Wallace's correspondence, Wallace Letters Online ([...] and was at the same time puzzled by how they had found letters which we had missed! Turning to the list of letters in Appendix 1 of their book which lists the repositories which own the originals of the letters plus other details about them, I saw that 5 letters did not have WCP numbers - the unique identifiers which our Wallace Correspondence Project gives to each letter that we catalogue. Great, I thought, these must be the ones we missed! I was to be disappointed, however, as every one of them was already present in our database, and clearly the authors had simply omitted the WCP numbers for them.

Searching through the book for reference to the Wallace Correspondence Project, I eventually found that the project had been briefly mentioned in the Acknowledgements - but strangely, nowhere in the book is our online archive, Wallace Letters Online, mentioned or its url given. Good scholarship should dictate that it was cited in the book's reference list at least (for no other reason than the fact that our project's "WCP" numbers are given, yet readers will not know what their significance is), but it was not. This 'oversight' is rather ironic given van Wyhe's frequent complaints that scholars do not cite his "Darwin Online" resource in their publications! I also spotted the following misleading statement in the Acknowledgements "..we provided early transcriptions of the letters in this volume to the WCP project.
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