martes, 8 de junio de 2010

Darwin's Origin of Species

Having recently read The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and The Voyage of the Beagle, I found that Janet Browne's book Darwin's Origin of Species did not greatly enhance my knowledge of Charles Darwin. Most of the facts and events of Darwin's life presented in the book are widely known and are included in other biographies. While Browne does a good job condensing the information from Darwin's works into a more readable format for the casual reader, I felt that analysis on Darwin's life was limited. I would have been more interested in Browne's thoughts on certain Darwin quotes than simply a regurgitation of the facts.

I found the book most interesting when Janet Browne provided a historical context for events in Darwin's life, as this were largely missing from his autobiography. Perhaps the best example of this is in Browne's description of Darwin's return to England after five years on the Beagle. She explains: "Darwin... could not help but notice how much England had changed. Railways were snaking across the land where stagecoaches had once travelled, towns crept relentlessly outwards, shops, chapels, and newly built churches sprouted everywhere. This was the England of Dickens's classic tales."


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