Category Archives: Darwin and Gender Blog

Burn After Reading

One question which arises a lot when sifting through Darwin’s letters is are we prying? Did Darwin and his correspondents consider their letters to be public objects or private exchanges intended only for the eyes of the sender and recipient in … Continue reading

Women and Science, Past and Present

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women, particularly those who have struggled to participate in society on an equal footing with men. Darwin’s correspondence is a rich source of evidence of extraordinary women who did just that; from international travellers and diamond prospectors to … Continue reading

Monkeys, Gingerbread and Latin

A summary of our content so far, Wordle-style!     Posted by Philippa Hardman

What can Darwin teach us about sexuality?

This month is LGBT History Month, an annual event which celebrates the lives of the LGBT community both past and present. The event helps draw attention to the ongoing work of organisations like Schools Out, which encourage teachers to give lessons on ‘significant’ gay … Continue reading

What’s so good about a classical education?

On September 4th 1850, Charles Darwin penned a letter to his cousin and friend William Darwin Fox in which he reported that he and Emma were “at present very full of the subject of schools”. As a middle class family, the … Continue reading

Women and peahens: Darwin on sexual selection

What’s the difference between a woman and a peahen?   Seems a silly (if not insulting) question.  But in Descent of Man Darwin proposed a theory which, uncharacteristically, set women decisively apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.   According to … Continue reading

Female Censorship?

Editors. All good writers need them, and Darwin was no exception. Although many members of the Darwin family helped refine his manuscripts, it was his daughter Henrietta on whom Darwin arguably relied the most, particularly during the 1860s when he edited the Descent … Continue reading

The Origin of Sex

Sex is a seemingly inescapable reality of the biological world. Surveying the animal and plant kingdoms, at least, seems to reveal a world distributed into male and female. But the ultimate cause of sexual difference was a mystery even to … Continue reading

“Slyly disparaging remarks on my beloved Tennyson”

Although Darwin’s letters are a treasure of nineteenth-century natural history, they also reveal that he was engaged in lively conversations about a wide-range of subjects, including contemporary philosophy, politics and literature. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these more casual exchanges occurred … Continue reading

Talking to Naturalists

Charles Darwin correspondended with a large number of women, many of whom were the wives of some of his closest scientific associates.  Looking at the letters exchanged between Darwin and these women reminds us not only of the interconnectedness of … Continue reading