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Darwin Correspondence Project

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George Bentham
George Bentham, Journal of Botany, British and foreign, plate facing p353
CUL Q370.c.32.13
Cambridge University Library

Darwin in letters, 1861: Gaining allies

The year 1861 marked an important change in the direction of Darwin’s work. He had weathered the storm that followed the publication of Origin, and felt cautiously optimistic about the ultimate acceptance of his ideas. The letters from this year provide an unusually detailed and intimate understanding of Darwin’s problem-solving method of work. The beginning of the American Civil War and the possibility of British involvement brings an unusally political flavour to the correspondence with tensions increasingly evident between two of his closest friends and supporters, Joseph Hooker and the American Asa Gray. 

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