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More Letters of Charles Darwin A Record of his Work in a Series of hitherto Unpublished Letters


WE close most biographies with the exclamation “too long and far too many letters,” but the three volumes of the “Life and Letters of Charles Darwin,” published in 1887, left their readers, like young Oliver Twist, “asking for more.” At that time considerations of space and other reasons prevented the editors from publishing numerous letters in their possession, and since then many of great interest have been received. From this unused material they have compiled, with only a few slight repetitions, “an almost complete record of Darwin's work,” which will be welcomed, we are sure, not only by students of science, but also by all interested in the history of the Earth and Man. It is now nearly forty-four years since the “Origin of Species” was first published. The book was received with objurgation by the many, with praise by the few, yet in about half that time it had forced its way to a front place among the classics of scientific literature, and though opinions still differ about the prime factor in producing a species, a place is assured to Charles Darwin among naturalists similar to that of Isaac Newton among physical mathematicians. The former, indeed, has effected, outside his own field, an even more rapid and extensive transformation of thought. The idea of evolution has acted like a solvent in subjects to which it might have been supposed alien, for it has even won recognition from theology, by the partisans of which it was at first so vociferously and ignorantly assailed. It has, in short, succeeded in revealing the “How” of the natural order, though making no pretence of fathoming the mystery of the “Why.”

More Letters of Charles Darwin. A Record of his Work in a Series of hitherto Unpublished Letters.

Edited by Francis Darwin, Fellow of Christ's College, and A. L. Seward, Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In two volumes, illustrated. Vol. L, pp. xxiv + 494; vol. ii., pp. viii + 508. (London: J. Murray, 1903.) Price 32s. net.

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BONNEY, T. More Letters of Charles Darwin A Record of his Work in a Series of hitherto Unpublished Letters . Nature 67, 529–530 (1903).

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