Charles Darwin's 'The Life of Erasmus Darwin'

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 172 pages
Charles Darwin's book about his grandfather, The Life of Erasmus Darwin, is curiously fascinating. Before publication in 1879, it was shortened by 16%, with several of the cuts directed at its most provocative parts. The cutter, with Charles's permission, was his daughter Henrietta - an example of the strong hidden hand of meek-seeming Victorian women. Originally published in 2003, this first unabridged edition, edited by Desmond King-Hele, includes all that Charles originally intended, the cuts being restored and printed in italics. Erasmus Darwin was one of the leading intellectuals of the eighteenth century. He was a respected physician, a well-known poet, a keen mechanical inventor, and a founding member of the influential Lunar Society. He also possessed an amazing insight into the many branches of physical and biological science. Most notably, he adopted what we now call biological evolution as his theory of life, 65 years prior to Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.
 

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Contents

SYNOPSIS
3
Preface
5
The Life of Erasmus Darwin
7
CHARLES DARWINS REFERENCES
92
Notes on the Text
97
Appendix A Chronology of Erasmus Darwins Life
135
Appendix B Selective Family Tree
141
Appendix C Selected Books and Papers
144
Appendix D Outline of Ernst Krauses Essay The Scientific Works of Erasmus Darwin
148
Appendix E Linking Page Numbers in the 1879 Book with Those in the Proofs
158
Acknowledgements
160
Index
161
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Charles Robert Darwin, born in 1809, was an English naturalist who founded the theory of Darwinism, the belief in evolution as determined by natural selection. Although Darwin studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and then studied at Cambridge University to become a minister, he had been interested in natural history all his life. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a noted English poet, physician, and botanist who was interested in evolutionary development. Darwin's works have had an incalculable effect on all aspects of the modern thought. Darwin's most famous and influential work, On the Origin of Species, provoked immediate controversy. Darwin's other books include Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Charles Darwin died in 1882.

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