This collection of thirteen essays by prominent scholars explores the history of evolutionary thought in all of its cultural richness over the past two hundred years. Evolutionary ideas have undergone fundamental changes and are now found to have diverse sources and universal scope. They are no longer beholden to biologists' understanding of their own past, and do not focus exclusively on Charles Darwin. This volume aims to address the problem of the human significance of evolution. The contributors draw on contemporary sources as diverse as medicine, literature and natural history tableaux, as well as the resources of publishing history, feminine scholarship, and the histories of politics, sociology, and philosophy. The essays offer new perspectives on familiar figures such as Erasmus, Charles Darwin, Lamarck, Chambers, Huxley, and Haeckel, but also on many lesser known participants in the evolutionary debates.
"...the first collective work on evolutionary thought in 30 years. Interests and interpretations in the field have undergone a fundamental shift, and the history of evolutionary thought is no longer written as a triumphal progression of scientific truth with the focus on Charles Darwin... The book is aimed at the general academic reader as well as at those concerned with the religious, moral, and political aspects of evolution." Geotimes "The present collection of essays stands along with David Kohn's earlier volume on Darwin as one of the two best series of articles on the current state of research. It should receive a wide audience not only among scholars but also in graduate and undergraduate classes on the history of science. it is required reading for scholars in any field concerned with evolutionary thought in the nineteenth century." Frank M. Turner, ISIS "The disciplined focus on a class of problems that remain, to this day, identified with the human implications of various scientific world views, is what distinguishes this collection from the usual assemblage of loosely associated essays. The essays are uniformly of the highest quality of scholarship in evolutionary studies that are being carried out today, and there is an abundant evidence of inspired editorial planning and guidance." James G. Paradis, Quarterly Review of Biology "...discuss topics that will prove particularly interesting to theologians and church historians intrigued by the recurring theme of the interdependence of science and religion...this volume is an extraordinarily valuable contribution..." Samuel C. Pearson, Church History