When the intellectual legacy of Charles Darwin is discussed, more often than not, the focus is on his “Origin;” however as anyone who has spent even a little time examining the life of this great Nineteenth Century polymath quickly comes to learn, his curiosity led him to inquire into a vast number of mysteries over the course of his life – and early among these was geology.
“Malthus? Really? How is he in any way related to natural history?”
Cast your mind back to Darwin’s “Origin.” What were the two books known to have been among the – if not indeed the – most significant influences on Darwin’s thoughts when writing it? Sir Charles Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” and Thomas Malthus’ “An Essay on the Principle of Population.”
In her cover-featured essay “The Origin of the Thesis” in the 14 December 2017 issue of the Times Literary Supplement, Clare Pettitt presents her thoughts about four recent books that take Charles Darwin as their respective subjects.
Most readers of this publication are likely to be at least somewhat familiar with the famous 1831-1836 journey of Charles Darwin aboard the H.M. S. Beagle (and for those who aren’t, I highly recommend his own account of it, published as The Voyage of the Beagle). However much less attention seems to be given to what happened at the locations of his researches afterward.