Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1840
Subjects: Evolutionary biology , History of science
Even before Charles Darwin changed the world with his theory of natural selection, he was recognised as an eminent scientist and natural historian. Published in 1840, his Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle reveals him as a writer of formidable intelligence and a keen observer of natural and human life. Darwin's journal encompasses every observable detail of the animals, birds and plants he encountered on the five-year voyage. It includes minute descriptions and even sketches of the movements and habits of hitherto unfamiliar species. Accompanying the entries are his own conclusions, analyses and classificatory notes that demonstrate his skill and talent as a naturalist. Darwin's entries on natural phenomena are interspersed with anecdotes of the indigenous peoples he encountered, transforming his journal from an impersonal scientific record to a book of true human interest.