Self-taught and ambitious, Darwin genuinely believed he was 'rather below the common standard in intellect' and had gained little from formal education. Yet he also knew he had seized his one great stroke of luck – the voyage of the Beagle – and forged a lasting body of knowledge through solitary determination and sheer hard work. His memoir concentrates on his public career and towering scientific achievements, but is also full of lively anecdotes about his family and contemporaries. Among these, he paints a vivid portrait of his bullying father, and pays a loving tribute to his devoted wife Emma, who was distressed by their religious differences. The figure that emerges from these pages is one who stands isolated, dogged by illness and confined to solitude by his ailing body, with a mind that rejected the arts and the 'damnable doctrine' of Christianity.
This volume also includes a fascinating fragment about Darwin's earliest memories, which he jotted down while pondering the impact of evolution on human psychology.
About The Author
Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury in 1809 and was educated at Shrewsbury School, Edinburgh University and Christ’s College Cambridge. He took his degree in 1831 and in the same year embarked on a five-year voyage on HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain; the purpose of the voyage was to chart the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and to carry a chain of chronometric readings round the world.
While he was away some of his letters on scientific matters were privately published, and on his return he at once took his place among the leading men of science. In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Most of the rest of his life was occupied in publishing the findings of the voyage and in documenting his theory of the transmutation of species. On the origin of species by means of natural selection appeared in 1859.
Darwin spent many years with his wife – his cousin Emma Wedgwood, whom he had married in 1839 – and their children at Down House in Kent. He died in 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 128
Published: 25th July 2002
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.0
Weight (kg): 0.1
Edition Number: 1