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Charles Darwin: Interviews and Recollections [Hardcover]

Harold Orel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 19, 2000 0312221002 978-0312221003
This selection of essays allows the reader to learn more about Darwin the family man, as well as the context of Darwin's achievements in several developing research fields of the Victorian Age. Darwin knew and cultivated the friendship of such scientists as Sir Joseph Hooker, Alfred Russel Wallace, Richard Owen, Adam Sedgwick, and Thomas Henry Huxley. He conducted an enormous correspondence with all who could aid him in his work. Their name is legion; it is sampled here, and constitutes one of the marvels of Darwin's century.

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About the Author

Harold Orel is University Professor Emeritus in the English Department at the University of Kansas.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (May 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312221002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312221003
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,855,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Knowing Charles Darwin September 8, 2000
A man of such renown has been written up in many volumes. His letters and his self-knowledge have won readers for more than a century now. A few of his intimate recollections are presented here in one small volume, most helpfully. But to Darwin's own candor and depth of memory the editor--a scholar and a person plainly admiring this great and modest man--has linked the living witness of a dozen people of many kinds who visited, questioned, even quarreled with the biologist.
As in a well-made play, the qualities of Darwin's character unfold from the tales. Here is the child with a conscience, who admitted to made-up wonders--and soon regrets the deception. Here is Alfred Wallace, the specimen collector from Indonesia, who wrote a brief paper to Darwin himself to seek aid in publishing the essay that described in brief the very theory Darwin had spent twenty years documenting to convince the wide world. Alfred Walllace sent it to that very man just as Darwin's big treatise was newly ready. What is wonderful is how Darwin and Wallace understood that stroke of fate, and remained lifelong friends in the face of the celebrity Darwin won and deserved, as Wallace's insight was given what was due him.
Here are Darwin's friends--Huxleys, Hooker, his cousin Galton, his devoted sons--recalling family life. Here too is the feminist author Harriet Martineau, guest at the Darwin's a few times, and her estimate of this man. The power of this pageant of commentary is all but unique among biographies, even though nothing really new is here.
Most touching--and most winning--of all is the little-read narrative by father Charles himself of the life of his oldest daughter Ann, who died at ten years age of a delayed effect of scarlet fever.
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