The Beagle Letters
Publication Date: October 2008
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Charles Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle is a gripping adventure story, and a turning point in the making of the modern world. Brought together here in chronological order, the letters he wrote and received during his trip provide a first-hand account of a voyage of discovery that was as much personal as intellectual. We follow Darwin's adventures as he prepares for his travels, lands on his first tropical island, watches an earthquake level a city, and learns how to catch ostriches from a running horse. We witness slavery, political revolution, and epidemic disease, and share the otherworldly experience of landing on the Galapagos Islands and collecting specimens. His letters are counterpoised by replies from family and friends that record a comfortable, intimate world back in England. Original watercolors by the ship's artist Conrad Martens vividly bring to life Darwin's descriptions of his travels.
About the AuthorCharles Darwin was an English naturalist and author best-known for his revolutionary theories on the origin of species, human evolution, and natural selection. A life-long interest in the natural world led Darwin to neglect his medical studies and instead embark on a five-year scientific voyage on the HMS Beagle, where he established his reputation as a geologist and gathered much of the evidence that fuelled his later theories.A prolific writer, Darwin s most famous published works include The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, and The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin died in 1882, and in recognition of his contributions to science, is buried in Westminster Abbey along with John Herschel and Isaac Newton.
Frederick Burkhardt (1912 2007) was the founder of the Charles Darwin Correspondence Project, and the associated high profile book series The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (Cambridge University Press, 1985- ). He was President of the American Council of Learned Societies from 1957 to 1974, and in 2003 was awarded the American Philosophical Society Thomas Jefferson Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences.