Charles Darwin, His Life and Work

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This biography of Charles Darwin was published in 1891, less than a decade after his death. It stands as one of the first comprehensive accounts of the great scientist's life and times. Author Charles Frederick Holder is well known for his influence in game fishing, but his various writings also include works on plant species and zoology. In "Charles Darwin: His Life and Work," Holder describes Darwin's childhood, his college days, his life as a young naturalist, and his various scientific trips throughout the world. He discusses Darwin's home life, his ambition, his honors and awards and he explains the movement of "Darwinism." In his preface, Holder describes his intentions: "In the preparation of the work I have not attempted an analytical dissertation upon Darwin's life-work, neither have I discussed his theories or their possible effect upon the scientific world, but have simply presented the story of his life, that of one of the greatest naturalists of the age; a life of singular purity; the life of a man who, in loftiness of purpose and the accomplishment of grant results, was the centre of observation in his lifetime; revered and honored, yet maligned and attacked as few have been."
 

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Page 180 - ... been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position — namely, at the close of the Introduction the following words : "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.
Page 105 - Considering the small size of these islands, we feel the more astonished at the number of their aboriginal beings, and at their confined range. Seeing every height crowned with its crater, and the boundaries of most of the lava-streams still distinct, we are led to believe that within a period, geologically recent, the unbroken ocean was here spread out. Hence, both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact — that mystery of mysteries — the first appearance of...
Page 158 - ... would it be too bold to imagine that in the great length of time, since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament...
Page xvi - I had many friends, and got together a good collection of old verses, which by patching together, sometimes aided by other boys, I could work into any subject. Much attention was paid to learning by heart the lessons of the previous day; this I could effect with great facility, learning forty or fifty lines of Virgil or Homer, whilst I was in morning chapel; but this exercise was utterly useless, for every verse was forgotten in forty-eight hours. I was not idle, and with the exception of versification,...
Page 113 - I think this is as curious a case of instinct as ever I heard of, and likewise of adaptation in structure between two objects apparently so remote from each other in the scheme of nature, as a crab and a cocoa-nut tree.
Page 2 - ... I often became quite absorbed, and once, whilst returning to school on the summit of the old fortifications round Shrewsbury, which had been converted into a public foot-path with no parapet on one side, I walked off and fell to the ground, but the height was only seven or eight feet. Nevertheless the number of thoughts which passed through my mind during this very short, but sudden and wholly unexpected fall, was astonishing, and seem hardly compatible with what physiologists have, I believe,...
Page 107 - I have not as yet noticed by far the most remarkable feature in the natural history of this archipelago; it is, that the different islands to a considerable extent are inhabited by a different set of beings. My attention was first called to this fact by the Vice-Governor, Mr. Lawson, declaring that the tortoises differed from the different islands, and that he could with certainty tell from which island any one was brought.
Page 24 - Delight itself, however, is a weak term to express the feelings of a naturalist who, for the first time, has wandered by himself in a Brazilian forest.
Page 68 - While sailing a little south of the Plata on one very dark night, the sea presented a wonderful and most beautiful spectacle. There was a fresh breeze, and every part of the surface, which during the day is seen as foam, now glowed with a pale light. The vessel drove before her bows two billows of liquid phosphorus, and in her wake she was followed by a milky train.

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