The quantity of Darwin’s correspondence increased dramatically in 1868 due largely to his ever-widening research on human evolution and sexual selection.Darwin’s theory of sexual selection as applied to human descent led him to investigate aspects of the structure and behaviour of other animals more extensively, and to further this programme, he re-established links with specialists who had provided assistance. Considerable correspondence was generated by the long-awaited publication of Variation in animals and plants under domestication. Having been advertised by the publisher John Murray as early as 1865, the two-volume work appeared in January 1868.
This speciallycommissioned BBC Radio drama is based entirely on Charles and Emma Darwin’s own words and correspondence. Behind the controversial public persona, Darwin was an affectionate family man, fully engaged – sometimes heartbreakingly so – in the lives of his wife, Emma and their children.
In May 1856, Darwin began writing up his 'species sketch’ in earnest. During this period, his working life was completely dominated by the preparation of his 'Big Book', which was to be called Natural selection. Using letters are the main source for much of his research he amassed data, carried out breeding experiments, and struggled with statistical analysis. Several of his experiments: seeds would not germinate; beans failed to cross; newly-hatched molluscs refused to do what he hoped. Most significant in terms of Darwin’s future, however, was the beginning of his correspondence with Alfred Russel Wallace.
Read and search the full texts of more than 8,500 of Charles Darwin’s letters, and ﬁnd information on 6,500 more. Discover complete transcripts of all known letters Darwin wrote and received up to the year 1872.
Darwin for Schools
Discover our new and improved schools resources for 11-14 year olds.