Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life

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Chatto & Windus, Jan 1, 2001 - Naturalists - 340 pages
A biography of scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace. In 1858 Wallace wrote to Charles Darwin and told him he had worked out a theory of natural selection. Darwin's outline and Wallace's paper were presented jointly in London. A year later Darwin published The Origin of the Species, yet Wallace felt no bitterness and in fact Wallace and Darwin became friends. Wallace had none of the advantages of Darwin. He was born in Usk, Gwent in 1823, he left school at 14 and in his mid-20s he spent four years in the Amazon collecting for musuems, only to lose it all in a shipboard fire. He later went to the East Indies where he began an eight year trek and discovered countless unknown species and identified the point of divide between Asian and Australian fauna, now known as Wallace's Line. This biography reveals Wallace as a courageous, unconventional explorer who loved the wild and the independent spirit of the people he met. When he returned to England he retreated into country life and stayed vital and alert until his death at the age of 90, in 1913. This biography hopes to put Alfred Russel Wallace back into the centre stage of the science world.

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User Review  - pbjwelch - LibraryThing

I read this biography of Wallace while simultaneously reading Wallace's Malay Archipelago. At first, I thought the two were redundant and I was about to abandon the Raby volume, but after a slow start ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Peter Raby is the author of a study of Oscar Wilde and the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde and The Cambridge Companion to Harold Pinter. Among his other books are biographies of Harriet Smithson Berlioz, Samuel Butler and Alfred Russel Wallace. He is a Fellow Emeritus of Homerton College, Cambridge.

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