Preface  pp. 5-6


By Charles Darwin and Desmond King-Hele

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In the February number, 1879, of a well-known German scientific journal, ‘Kosmos’, Dr. Ernst Krause published a sketch of the life of Erasmus Darwin, the author of the ‘Zoonomia’, ‘Botanic Garden’, and other works. This article bears the title of a ‘Contribution to the history of the Descent-Theory’; and Dr. Krause has kindly permitted my brother and myself to have a translation made of it and published. {Mr. Dallas has undertaken the translation, and his scientific reputation, together with his knowledge of German, is a guarantee for its accuracy.}

As I have private materials for adding to the knowledge of Erasmus Darwin's character, I have written a preliminary notice. These materials consist of a large collection of letters written by him; of his common-place book in folio, in the possession of his grandson Reginald Darwin; of some notes made by my father shortly after the death of his father, together with what little I can clearly remember that my father said about him; also some statements by his daughter, Violetta Darwin, written down at the time by her daughters, the Miss Galtons, and various published notices. To them must be added the ‘Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Darwin’, by Miss Seward, which appeared in 1804, and a lecture by Dr. Dowson on ‘Erasmus Darwin, Philosopher, Poet, and Physician’, published in 1861, which contains many useful references and remarks.

Reference Type: reference-list

[Anonymous] An Elegy on the Much-lamented Death of a most Ingenious Young Gentleman … [Charles Darwin the elder]. G. Robinson, 1778. Written mostly by Erasmus
Margaret Ashmun, The Singing Swan. New York: Greenwood Press, 1968 (First published, 1931). Life of Anna Seward
John Bowlby, Charles Darwin: a biography. Hutchinson, 1990
Desmond Clarke, The Ingenious Mr Edgeworth. Oldbourne, 1965
Ralph Colp, ‘Notes on Charles Darwin's Autobiography’. Journ. Hist. Biol., Vol. 18, pp. 357–401, 1985
Ralph Colp, ‘The Relationship of Charles Darwin to the Ideas of his Grandfather, Dr Erasmus Darwin’. Biography, Vol. 9, pp. 1–24, 1986
The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821–1882, A Calendar of. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Brief summaries of some 14 000 letters to and from C.D., with indexes
The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Volumes 1–12, 1821–1864. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985–2001. A total of 32 volumes is scheduled
Maxwell Craven, John Whitehurst of Derby. Ashbourne: Mayfield Books, 1996
C. D. Darlington, Darwin's Place in History. Oxford: Blackwell, 1959. Discusses proponents of evolution from 1790 to 1860
Charles Darwin [the elder], Experiments establishing a Criterion between Mucaginous and Purulent Matter, Cadell, 1780. Includes short biography by Erasmus
Charles Darwin, Autobiography (ed. Nora Barlow). Collins, 1958. Has useful Appendices and Notes. (Also Penguin Classics, 2002.)
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. First ed., Murray, 1859
Facsimile reprint by Harvard University Press, 1964
[Erasmus Darwin] A System of Vegetables … translated from the thirteenth edition of the ‘Systema Vegetabilium’ of … Linneus … by a Botanical Society at Lichfield. 2 vols. Lichfield: J. Jackson, for Leigh and Sotheby, London, 1783
[Erasmus Darwin] The Families of Plants … translated from the last edition of the ‘Genera Plantarum’ …, by a Botanical Society at Lichfield. 2 vols. Lichfield: J. Jackson, for J. Johnson, London, 1787
[Erasmus Darwin] The Botanic Garden; a Poem, in Two Parts. Part I, The Economy of Vegetation. J. Johnson, 1791 [actually appeared in 1792]. Part II, The Loves of the Plants. Lichfield, J. Jackson, for J. Johnson, London, 1789
Facsimile reprints by Scolar Press, Menston, 1973; by Scholarly Press, MI, 1977; by Garland, New York, 1979; by Woodstock Books, 1991 (Part II only)
Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia; or, The Laws of Organic Life. Part I, J. Johnson, 1794 (Vol. 1). Parts II and III, J. Johnson, 1796 (Vol. 2), issued with 2nd edn. of Vol. 1, corrected
Facsimile reprints by A. M. S. Press, New York, 1974; and by Scholarly Press, MI, 1977
Erasmus Darwin, A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools. Derby: J. Drewry, for J. Johnson, London, 1797
Erasmus Darwin Facsimile reprints by Johnson Reprint Corp., New York, 1974; by Routledge, London, 1996, in History of British Educational Thought; by Woodstock Books, 2001
Erasmus Darwin, Phytologia: or the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening. J. Johnson, 1800
Erasmus Darwin, The Temple of Nature; or, The Origin of Society. J. Johnson, 1803
Facsimile reprints by Scolar Press, Menston, 1973; and by Scholarly Press, MI, 1977
Erasmus Darwin, Cosmologia [The poems The Botanic Garden and The Temple of Nature, without the Notes, newly edited by Stuart Harris]. Published by S. Harris, 171 Millhouses Lane, Sheffield S7 2HD. 2002
Erasmus Darwin, The Letters of Erasmus Darwin (ed. D. King-Hele). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981
Francis Darwin (ed.), Life and Letters of Charles Darwin. 3 vols. Murray, 1887
Francis Darwin and A. C. Seward (ed.), More Letters of Charles Darwin. 2 vols. Murray, 1903
R. L. and Maria Edgeworth, Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. 2 vols. Hunter, 1820
Facsimile reprint by Irish University Press, Shannon, Ireland, 1969
R. B. Freeman, Darwin Pedigrees. Printed for the author, 1984. Valuable; but beware of errors in the twentieth-century part of the text
Donald M. Hassler, The Comedian as the letter D: Erasmus Darwin's Comic Materialism. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1973
Donald M. Hassler, Erasmus Darwin. New York: Twayne, 1973. Study of his writings
Edna Healey, Emma Darwin. Headline, 2001. Biography of Charles Darwin's wife – and their extended family
Randal Keynes, Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, his Daughter and Human Evolution. Fourth Estate, 2001
Desmond King-Hele, Erasmus Darwin and the Romantic Poets. Macmillan, 1986
Desmond King-Hele, Erasmus Darwin: a Life of Unequalled Achievement. De la Mare, 1999. (Abbreviated here in the Notes as ‘1999 Life’.)
Henrietta Litchfield (ed.), Emma Darwin: a Century of Family Letters. 2 vols. Privately printed, C.U.P., 1904. Also Murray, 1915
J. V. Logan, The Poetry and Aesthetics of Erasmus Darwin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1936
Maureen McNeil, Under the Banner of Science: Erasmus Darwin and his Age. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987
E. Meteyard, The Life of Josiah Wedgwood. 2 vols. Hurst and Blackett, 1865–6
Facsimile reprint by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, Barlaston, 1980
J. L. Moilliet and B. M. D. Smith, ‘A Mighty Chemist’: James Keir. Privately printed, 1983
Benedict Nicholson, Joseph Wright of Derby. 2 vols. Routledge, 1968
Karl Pearson, The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton. 4 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914–30
Roy Porter, Enlightenment. Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 2000
Gwen Raverat, Period Piece. Faber, 1952. A delightful picture of the Darwin family
L. T. C. Rolt, James Watt. Batsford, 1962
P. Rowland, The Life and Times of Thomas Day. Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 1996
R. E. Schofield, The Lunar Society of Birmingham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963
R. F. Scott, Admissions to the College of St John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge, Part III. Cambridge: Deighton Bell, 1903
Anna Seward, Memoirs of the Life of Dr Darwin. Johnson, 1804
Anna Seward, The Letters of Anna Seward. 6 vols. Edinburgh: Constable, 1811
W. B. Stevens, The Journal of the Rev. W. B. Stevens (ed. G. Galbraith). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965
Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men. Faber, 2002. Particularly good on Boulton, Watt and Wedgwood
Barbara and Hensleigh Wedgwood, The Wedgwood Circle, 1730–1897. Cassell, 1980
Josiah Wedgwood, Letters of Josiah Wedgwood (ed. K. E. Farrer). 3 vols. Manchester: E. J. Morton, 1974