Thursday, August 02, 2007

Darwin Correspondence Project

Thanks to Diana in Wyoming, USA, for sending me a link to the Darwin Correspondence Project.

I could get stuck for a week just reading Charles Darwin's correspondence with various eminent people such as Thomas Huxley and Alfred Wallace, but there are are more mundane things to be done.

Darwin's style is charming. For example, to Huxley:

"You spoke as if you had had an intention to review my Cirripedia: it is very indelicate in me to say so, but it would give me great pleasure to see my work reviewed by any one so capable as you of praising anything which might deserve praise, and criticising the errors which no doubt it contains. My chief reason for wishing it, is, otherwise I do not believe any foreigner will ever hear of its existence. It has been published a year, and no notice has been taken of it by any zoologist, except briefly by Dana. Upon my honour I never did such a thing before as suggest (not that I have exactly suggested this time) a review to any human being. But having done so, I may mention that in my own opinion, the Limulus-like larva in 1st stage;—the mouthless pupa;—especially the method of cement with its modifications;—the senses;—& homologies & sexual peculiarities,—are the most curious points,—but I daresay I greatly exaggerate their curiosity, for I have become a man of one idea,—cirripedes morning & night."

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