Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

Easton Press Charles Darwin books

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
The Descent of Man
On the Origin of Species
The Journal of Charles Darwin
The Survival of Charles Darwin: A Biography of a Man and an Idea
The Voyage of The H.M.S. Beagle
The Voyage of The H.M.S. Beagle - Harvard Classics

Franklin Library Charles Darwin books

On the Origin of Species - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1975
On the Origin of Species - The Great Books of the Western World - 1978
The Descent of Man - The Great Books of the Western World - 1980

Charles Darwin The Descent of Man

Who was Charles Darwin?

Charles Robert Darwin, born on February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, was a British naturalist, biologist, and geologist whose groundbreaking work laid the foundation for the theory of evolution through natural selection. Darwin's revolutionary ideas, presented in his seminal work On the Origin of Species, have had a profound and enduring impact on the fields of biology and the understanding of life's diversity. Darwin came from a well-educated and affluent family. His father, Robert Darwin, was a successful physician, and his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a respected naturalist and poet. Charles Darwin, however, initially pursued a medical education at the University of Edinburgh but found the dissection of animals distasteful. He later enrolled at Christ's College, Cambridge, with the intention of becoming a clergyman, influenced by his interest in natural history. During his early career, Darwin served as a naturalist on the HMS Beagle, a voyage that circumnavigated the globe from 1831 to 1836. On this voyage he made many important observations which were the basis of Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (edited by Charles Darwin and published by the government, (1840-43) and of his own works, The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842), Volcanic Islands (1844), and Geological Observations (1846). The observations he made during this journey, particularly those in the Galápagos Islands, where he noted variations in species among different islands, laid the groundwork for his later theories on evolution.

Upon returning to England, Darwin began to develop his theory of natural selection, driven by the idea that species evolve over time through the differential survival and reproduction of organisms with advantageous traits. He meticulously gathered evidence, conducted extensive research, and corresponded with fellow scientists to refine his ideas. Charles Darwin had long been working on a theory of evolution which he was ready to publish when he received from his friend, A.R. Wallace, then in the East Indies, a manuscript setting forth substantially the same theory. He was at first disposed to withhold his own paper, and give precedence to Wallace, but on the advice of friends both papers were read at the same meeting of the Linnean Society of London and published together in their Transactions for 1858.

Charles Darwin On the Origin of Species

In 1859, Darwin published his groundbreaking work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, presenting his theory of evolution to the world. The book caused a significant scientific and cultural upheaval, challenging prevailing beliefs about the origin and diversity of life. Darwin's emphasis on evidence-based reasoning and his meticulous observations contributed to the widespread acceptance of evolutionary theory in the scientific community. In The Descent of Man (1871), Charles Darwin added to the controversy by advancing the theory that men and apes were descended from a common anthropoid ancestor.

Darwin's influence extended beyond biology. His ideas had profound implications for fields such as anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. They also sparked debates about religion, as his theory conflicted with prevailing interpretations of creation.Later in life, Darwin continued his scientific inquiries, publishing works on topics ranging from plant physiology to human evolution. He also became a fellow of the Royal Society and received numerous honors for his contributions to science. Charles Darwin passed away on April 19, 1882, leaving behind a scientific legacy that reshaped our understanding of life on Earth. His work laid the groundwork for modern evolutionary biology, and his intellectual courage in challenging prevailing beliefs has left an indelible mark on the scientific community and the way we comprehend the natural world.

Charles Darwin's other writings are supplemental to his works on evolution, and are largely based on the material gathered in the preparation of his great theory.

Charles Darwin Easton Press books

On The Origin of Species

Darwin's theory of natural selection issued a profound challenge to orthodox thought and belief: no being or species has been specifically created; all are locked into a pitiless struggle for existence, with extinction looming for those not fitted for the task.

Yet The Origin of Species (1859) is also a humane and inspirational vision of ecological interrelatedness, revealing the complex mutual interdependencies between animal and plant life, climate and physical environment, and by implication within the human world.

Written for the general reader, in a style which combines the rigour of science with the subtlety of literature, The Origin of Species remains one of the founding documents of the modern age.

The classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.

Few other books have created such a lasting storm of controversy as The Origin of Species. Darwin's theory that species derive from other species by a gradual evolutionary process and that the average level of each species is heightened by the "survival of the fittest" stirred up popular debate to a fever pitch. Its acceptance revolutionized the course of science.

The Descent of Man

The Descent of Man, Darwin's second landmark work on evolutionary theory (following The Origin of the Species), marked a turning point in the history of science with its modern vision of human nature as the product of evolution. Darwin argued that the noblest features of humans, such as language and morality, were the result of the same natural processes that produced iris petals and scorpion tails.

In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin refused to discuss human evolution, believing the subject too 'surrounded with prejudices'. He had been reworking his notes since the 1830s, but only with trepidation did he finally publish The Descent of Man in 1871. The book notoriously put apes in our family tree and made the races one family, diversified by 'sexual selection' Darwin's provocative theory that female choice among competing males leads to diverging racial characteristics. Named by Sigmund Freud as 'one of the ten most significant books' ever written, Darwin's Descent of Man continues to shape the way we think about what it is that makes us uniquely human.

The Voyage of the Beagle

The Voyage of the Beagle is the title given to the book written by Charles Darwin and published in 1839 as Journal and Remarks. It covers Darwin’s part in the second survey expedition of the ship HMS Beagle. Due to immense popularity of Darwin’s account, the publisher reissued it later in 1839 as Darwin’s Journal of Researches. The revised second edition published in 1845 also used this title. A republication of the book in 1905 introduced the title, The Voyage of the Beagle, by which it is now known.

The Beagle sailed from Plymouth Sound on 27 December 1831 under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy. Originally, the expedition was planned for two years, but it lasted almost five years, with the return of the Beagle on 2 October 1836. Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land while the ship was on some shore.

The book is a vivid and exciting travel memoir as well as a detailed scientific field journal covering biology, geology, and anthropology. It was written at a time when Western Europeans were exploring and charting the whole world, and it demonstrates Darwin’s keen powers of observation.

Darwin’s notes made during the voyage include comments hinting at his changing views on the fixity of species. On his return, he wrote the book based on these notes, at a time when he was first developing his theories of evolution through common descent and natural selection. Thus, the insights made during the voyage set in motion the mental activity that led to the theory of evolution, and eventually the book, On the Origin of Species, that made Darwin one of the most influential figures in human history.

When the Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime.
It was to last five years and transform him from an amiable and somewhat aimless young man into a scientific celebrity. Even more vitally, it was to set in motion the intellectual currents that culminated in the arrival of The Origin of Species in Victorian drawing-rooms in 1859. His journal, reprinted here in a shortened version, is vivid and immediate, showing us a naturalist making patient observations, above all in geology. As well as a profusion of natural history detail, it records many other things that caught Darwin’s eye, from civil war in Argentina to the new colonial settlements of Australia.

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