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Darwin Correspondence Project

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People

Summary

This section is about Charles Darwin and his correspondents. It is divided into the following areas: About Darwin Key correspondents Family and friends Darwin's scientific network Readers and critics Publishers, artists and…

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  • … This section is about Charles Darwin and his correspondents. It is divided into the following …

Interview with Pietro Corsi

Summary

Pietro Corsi is Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford. His book Evolution Before Darwin is due to be published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. Date of interview: 17 July 2009 Transcription 1: Introduction …

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  • … see, the French scene deserves close attention. I think that people have been working – and doing …
  • … , but let’s say, ?the Institution of Science?) and people have also assumed that the science which …
  • … each of these dictionaries there is a huge coverage of what people felt important for the …
  • … distorting our appreciation at a very basic level: what were people talking about? Now, that …
  • … public press. Not only that, but he also produced, or had people writing for him, articles showing …
  • … more the French government moves to the right wing, the more people try to start saying that …
  • … officer of the Napoleonic army becomes a kind of person who people have to trust to put the country …
  • … to curb atheism, but even more worried [of] subversion and people not being friendly to the …
  • … professional structure, of the Anglican clergymen. I found people endorsing moderate forms of …
  • … of Noah’s ark. It is surprising the extent to which these people knew about Continental science. …
  • … I still believe up to the mid-1830s not many English people knew German. (The evidence of that is …
  • … academic climbing to a completely different mindset. But people always try to say how original they …
  • … more important. Let me give you one instance. For people like John Fleming , the Scottish …
  • … atheism implicit in Lamarck. By 1830 in England, a lot of people are really worried that Lamarckian …
  • … By 1834, the issue was almost academic within a lot of people, and William Whewell, in 1837, wrongly …
  • … at is that by the time in which Darwin sets to read these people – Lamarck, Bory de Saint-Vincent, …
  • … more [part of a] burning debate, [a] hot debate, on which people feel things are at stake. So I …
  • … that. I simply say that he’s tried to think, who are the people who said something [about evolution …
  • … who said something. And naturally so, because by 1860 these people were curiosities, whereas if you …
  • … a seat at the Academy of Sciences in botany, not in zoology. People felt challenged. The earliest …
  • … I think that is totally not true. But nevertheless, people who say that Lamarck cut no ice in France …
  • … Lamarck has not said what Darwin said, even though some people say, well, within Darwin there …
  • … everyone believed that throughout Europe; very few people doubted that. The question is to what an …
  • … thesis as broad as that – ?French science declined? - people are now finding a lot of counter …
  • … language. That is, that was not mainstream. Certainly, people who used Darwin in that way in France, …

Site index

Summary

List of all letters in chronological order List of all people mentioned in letters List of all bibliographic references in letters

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  • … of all letters in chronological order List of all people mentioned in letters …

Boat Memory

Summary

Boat Memory was one of the indigenous people from Tierra del Fuego brought back to England by Robert FitzRoy in 1830, but he remains as ghostly a figure as his name. What he was called by his own people is unknown, but the name Boat Memory, chosen by…

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  • … Boat Memory was one of the indigenous people from Tierra del Fuego brought back to England by Robert …
  • … ghostly a figure as his name. What he was called by his own people is unknown, but the name Boat …
  • … Boat Memory, a member of the Alakaluf tribe, or canoe people from the western part of Tierra del …
  • … to Tierra del Fuego to act as moral exemplars to their own people and as interpreters for passing …
  • … Chapman, Anne. 2010.  European encounters with the Yamana people of Cape Horn, before and after …

Journal of researches

Summary

The Journal of researches, Darwin’s account of his travels round the world in H.M.S. Beagle, was his first published book. The circumstances of its publication were not shaped by Darwin, however, but by the Beagle’s captain, Robert FitzRoy, who, according…

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  • … by Darwin for the ‘ the copies I presented to different people ’. Never having received a penny …
  • … told Lyell, adding that authors, ‘ who like you, educate people’s minds as well as teach them …

Photograph album of German and Austrian scientists

Summary

The album was sent to Darwin to mark his birthday on 12 February 1877 by the civil servant Emil Rade, and contained 165 portraits of German and Austrian scientists. The work was lavishly produced and bound in blue velvet with metal embossing. Its ornate…

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  • … of natural history Charles Darwin). Most of the people in the album were faculty members of …
  • … botanist,  Julius Wiesner .  Missing people Some of Darwin's German colleagues …

Was Darwin an ecologist?

Summary

One of the most fascinating aspects of Charles Darwin’s correspondence is the extent to which the experiments he performed at his home in Down, in the English county of Kent, seem to prefigure modern scientific work in ecology.

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  • … what we consider to be ecology, look into the past for people doing just that, and call it, if not …
  • … though, it is important. When we try to understand what people do, a grasp of what they think they …
  • … By Darwin’s time the term was associated particularly with people who made collections and …
  • … was not unusual. The existence of God had been for most people a basic assumption that provided an …
  • … in science; he studied the right books, knew the right people, learnt the right skills, and …
  • … underlying assumptions of earlier natural historians. Many people believed that the natural world …
  • … revised many times) is thrown into relief.   People Boole, Mary Everest. …

Interview with Randal Keynes

Summary

Randal Keynes is a great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, and the author of Annie’s Box (Fourth Estate, 2001), which discusses Darwin’s home life, his relationship with his wife and children, and the ways in which these influenced his feelings about…

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  • … had an idea which he knew was going to be shocking to many people, and it's pretty clear that …
  • … in which his ideas were going to have great value to other people. He thought he might have ideas …
  • … . We have things we can work out from letters that other people wrote to him, especially Emma. We …
  • … of the Origin of Species , only then, really, did people start asking him for his views. And …
  • … faith: why - the points I've made - easy or difficult; why people made it - the challenge of …
  • … I find it difficult to think of it as a real idea - that people really believed it - but I think we …
  • … very clear in his own writing and in his letters to other people: always questioning, always …
  • … say. The first thing is that he was quite clear with other people in the village, other gentry in …
  • … a social institution to be supported because it guided other people - he was a man of his time: he …
  • … a purely scientific observation, is presented by many people as a piece of autobiography. In …

Search tips

Summary

In this section: The three basic searches Using filters to refine search Using facets to refine search results What is (and isn’t) in here? How do I… …Find all letters exchanged with a particular correspondent? …Find letters written by…

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  • … date. By keyword or exact phrase in the biographies of people mentioned in the letters, and …
  • … group identifiers (“flora” eg),  index terms such as people, institutions, and places, and some more …
  • … letters will be added as funds become available. People:  The site has brief biographical …
  • … else mentioned in the letters.  A keyword search in “People” will search these biographical entries. …
  • … letters referring to a particular person? To find people mentioned in the letters, search …

Interview with Tim Lewens

Summary

Dr Tim Lewens is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Organisms and artifacts (2004), which examines the language and arguments for design in biology and philosophy, and of…

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  • … I think it’s aninteresting question about why it is that people call themselves Darwinians now. One …
  • … issues about God, issues that go to the very heart of what people have tended to think of as deep …
  • … of areas then it’s hardly surprising, I think, that some people are going to want to call themselves …
  • … that kind of all-encompassing aspect that, as I say, some people have viewed as certainly inherent …
  • … the idea of natural selection. One of the things that many people claim for the idea of natural …
  • … simple idea with extremely general application. And many people think that natural selection is …
  • … characterise natural selection in such a general way, then people begin to apply it to all kinds of …
  • … to have such an enormous significance and why, for some people, it is a kind of world view. It’s …

Fuegia Basket (Yokcushlu)

Summary

Fuegia Basket was known as Yokcushlu among the Alakaluf, or canoe people from the western part of Tierra del Fuego. She was one of the hostages seized by Robert FitzRoy, after the small boat used for surveying the narrow inlets of the coast of Tierra del…

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  • … Basket was known as Yokcushlu among the Alakaluf, or canoe people from the western part of Tierra …
  • … to Tierra del Fuego to act as moral exemplars to their own people and interpreters for passing …
  • … with Elleparu and  Orundellico, met a select group of people, including FitzRoy’s relations, men …
  • … Chapman, Anne. 2010.  European encounters with the Yamana people of Cape Horn, before and after …

York Minster (Elleparu)

Summary

York Minster was known as Elleparu among the Alakaluf, or canoe people from the western part of Tierra del Fuego. He was captured by FitzRoy in 1830 after one the small boats used for surveying the narrow inlets of the coast of Tierra del Fuego had been…

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  • … Minster was known as Elleparu among the Alakaluf, or canoe people from the western part of Tierra …
  • … as an intermediary between the English and the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego. He chose …
  • … Chapman, Anne. 2010.  European encounters with the Yamana people of Cape Horn, before and after …

Exercise: Caricatures of Science

Summary

Caricatures provide intriguing insights into both ideals and transgressions of gender. The following six images show caricatured representations of nineteenth-century men and women of science. They provide insight into the boundaries of what was deemed …

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  • … nineteenth century? 4. What do the images (and the people featured in them) tell us about …

Discussion Questions and Essay Questions

Summary

There are a wide range of possibilities for opening discussion and essay writing on Darwin’s correspondence.  We have provided a set of sample discussion questions and essay questions, each of which focuses on a particular topic or correspondent in depth.…

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  • … so important for Darwin? How did Darwin encourage people he did not know to write to him? …
  • … knowledge does Darwin assume when he writes to different people? What sort of things could one …
  • … a potentially controversial topic? What reasons did people have for writing to Darwin? …

Jemmy Button (Orundellico)

Summary

Jemmy Button was known as Orundellico among the Yahgan, or canoe people of the southern part of Tierra del Fuego.  He was the fourth hostage taken by FitzRoy in 1830 following the theft of the small surveying boat. This fourteen-year old boy was called…

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  • … Button was known as Orundellico among the Yahgan, or canoe people of the southern part of Tierra del …
  • … sense of sympathy. Even though, as a member of a seafaring people, he could not understand Darwin’s …
  • … 1864 he discovered that an epidemic had killed many of his people, including his father. Despite …
  • … Chapman, Anne. 2010.  European encounters with the Yamana people of Cape Horn, before and after …

Language: Interview with Gregory Radick

Summary

Darwin made a famous comment about parallels between changes in language and species change. Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University, talks about the importance of the development of language to Darwin, what…

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  • … that tended to survive, and to reproduce, and to make more people who were capable of doing the same …
  • … there’s a little scholarly debate, and on the one side are people who say that Darwin couldn’t …
  • … But that’s not what we find, say the critics. We can find people in the most debased circumstances, …
  • … are as lowly as the rest of these cultures, so lowly people speak lowly languages. Now this is a …
  • … missionary effort going in that part of the world with those people. So part of the surprise he was …
  • … groups, it was because, for their own reasons, a number of people came to think that the idea of a …
  • … and still being read with profit by scientifically engaged people now. Linguists can still often be …
  • … Nearer to Darwin’s own day, I don’t think that most people who were already Darwinians just …

Visiting the Darwins

Summary

'As for Mr Darwin, he is entirely fascinating…'  In October 1868 Jane Gray and her husband spent several days as guests of the Darwins, and Jane wrote a charming account of the visit in a sixteen-page letter to her sister.  She described Charles…

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  • … French physiologist Guillaume Benjamin Armand Duchenne of people whose facial muscles were being …
  • … The oldest daughter Henrietta is one of those people who grow most wonderfully on acquaintance. She …
  • … most cordial, simple manners— They were all very charming people, so unaffected & kind, so …
  • … her— The oldest daughter Henrietta is one of those people who grow most wonderfully on …
  • … opposite the window & the sun shone cheerfully in all day— People sewed, or wrote, or scattered …
  • … good bye to our most delightful visit & these dear, charming people—”I will never forgive you,” …
  • … me, that we should be in advance of them!— As for Sauquoit people they are decidedly shabby— Not a …

Black Venus

Summary

Sadiah Qureshi (University of Birmingham) on the film Vénus Noire (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2010) Sara Baartman has long been characterised as ‘Black Venus’, or ‘Vénus Noire’. The epithet encapsulates how her exploitation and objectification whilst alive…

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  • … story of Sarah Baartman is the story of the African ‎people…. It is the story of the loss of our …
  • … of the ‘Hottentot Venus’ not black women or black people as a whole and audiences, whether in …
  • … as ‘savage’.  Such specificities also help explain why people were interested in seeing her at all. …
  • … all too easy to make problematic assumptions that all black people were seen as the same simply …

Expression

Summary

Darwin's interest in emotional expression can be traced as far back as the Beagle voyage. He was fascinated by the different sounds and gestures among the peoples of Tierra del Fuego, and on his return from the voyage he started recording observations…

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  • … Gaika can write. This appears to me an error into which most people in England fall ...  the longer …
  • … races, even though it was scarcely visible, and among people who were born blind . But how …

Fake Darwin: myths and misconceptions

Summary

Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, with full debunking below...

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  • … Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, …
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