The correspondence in this volume is dominated by the public and private response to the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species. Volume 8 opens with Darwin eagerly scrutinising each new review, as one by one all the major organs of the day carried notices of the book. To those who express their views privately in letters, Darwin responds patiently and thoughtfully, answering their objections and attempting to guide their fuller understanding of the operation of natural selection. His more personal thoughts emerge in letters to his friends Joseph Dalton Hooker, Charles Lyell, and Thomas Henry Huxley. This volume presents a wealth of detailed information, giving the full range of response to the Origin and revealing how the Victorians coped with a theory that many well recognised would revolutionise thinking about the organic world and human ancestry.
'So important are the events of 1860, and so engaging are the letters, that the volume has much to offer a wide intellectual audience. It is a splendid example of the high calibre of historical research that has come to be associated with the Darwin industry.' Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Trends in Ecology