Charles Darwin Volume 2: The Power at Place
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‘I never saw a more striking coincidence,’ said Darwin unhappily in 1858. Unknown to him, Alfred Russel Wallace had arrived independently at the same theory of evolution by natural selection. This concluding volume of Janet Browne’s biography covers the transformation in Darwin’s life after the first unexpected announcement of his and Wallace’s theory, followed by publication of Darwin’s influential THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES a year afterwards in 1859. Always a private man by nature, Darwin suddenly found himself a controversial figure, reviewed and discussed in circles that stretched far beyond the boundaries of Victorian science, one of the leading thinkers of the nineteenth century. The second half of Darwin’s life was inextricably interwoven with the story of THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, and this biography looks closely at the wider publishing world of Victorian England and the different audiences which responded to his ideas. Darwin relied heavily on his friends and family, his publishing contacts, his correspondence network, and the expanding geographical and economic horizons of Victorian Britain to distribute his views to the furthest corners of Empire. This biography considers the Darwinian revolution from Darwin’s point of view – and what it was like to become a scientific celebrity.