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Darwin Correspondence Project

Big Book

WALLACE-A-R-01-01832.jpg

Alfred Russel Wallace
http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw178180/FF-Geach-Alfred-Russel-Wallace?
F.F. Geach; Alfred Russel Wallace by Unknown photographer bromide copy print, (1862) NPG x5110
mw178180
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Darwin in letters, 1858-1859: Origin

The years 1858 and 1859 were, without doubt, the most momentous of Darwin’s life. From a quiet rural existence filled with steady work on his ‘big book’ on species, he was jolted into action by the arrival of an unexpected letter from Alfred Russel Wallace. This letter led to the first announcement of Darwin’s and Wallace’s respective theories of organic change at the Linnean Society of London in July 1858 and prompted the composition and publication, in November 1859, of Darwin’s major treatise On the origin of species by means of natural selection.

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