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A brilliant scientist's train of thought

Darwin's Notebooks

Dirk Van Hulle

Darwin’s 'On the Origin of Species' broke new ground, and propelled the natural sciences in an entirely new direction. But did Darwin’s ideas come only from his sharp-eyed observations of the plants and the animal kingdom?

In this compelling account, Dirk Van Hulle shows the reader the thought processes of Charles Darwin and also closes the gap between the natural sciences and the humanities. In a vivid way, the author tells us how Darwin was strongly influenced by poets and writers from the Romantic period: Wordsworth, Shelley, and through them, Milton and his 'Paradise lost'. These writers were among those who introduced Darwin to mutability. In Darwin’s time, the idea that God had not created all animals and other forms of life in their final state was a dangerous one. As a result, it was 1859 before he published his findings, halfway through the Victorian age.

A supremely readable book on Darwin’s field notebooks, pocket notebooks, diaries, letters, and sketches.
NRC Handelsblad

Darwin’s notes date back to long before his theory took on its final shape – he was only twenty-two when he embarked on his voyage aboard the Beagle. By the end of his travels he had filled fifteen notebooks. The candid entries allow readers to follow the fascinating developments of Darwin’s train of thought from day to day.