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The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species'


  • Page extent: 424 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.62 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521691291)

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is universally recognised as one of the most important science books ever written. The Origin of Species is also a work of great cultural and religious significance, in that Darwin maintained that all organisms, including humans, are part of a natural process of growth from simple forms. This Companion commemorates the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species and examines its main arguments. Drawing on the expertise of leading authorities in the field, it also provides the contexts - religious, social, political, literary, and philosophical - in which the Origin was composed. Written in a clear and friendly yet authoritative manner, this volume will be essential reading for both scholars and students. More broadly, it will appeal to general readers who want to learn more about one of the most important and controversial books of modern times.

• Timely: appearing on the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species • Comprehensive: covers the whole of the Origin providing the religious, social, political, literary and philosophical contexts • Will be appreciated by readers at many levels, from experts to those with a general interest in Darwin


1. The origin of the Origin Michael Ruse; 2. Darwin's analogy between natural and artificial selection Mark Largent; 3. Variation and inheritance Robert Olby; 4. Darwin's theory of natural selection and its moral purpose Robert J. Richards; 5. Originating species: Darwin on the species problem Philip Sloan; 6. Darwin's keystone: the principle of divergence David Kohn; 7. Darwin's difficulties Abigail Lustig; 8. Darwin's geology and his perspective on the fossil record Sandra Herbert and David Norman; 9. Geographical distribution Peter Bowler; 10. Classification Richard Richards; 11. Embryology and morphology Lynn K. Nyhart; 12. Darwin's botany in On the Origin of Species Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis; 13. The rhetoric of the Origin of Species David Depew; 14. 'Laws impressed on matter by the Creator'? The Origin and the question of religion John Hedley Brooke; 15. 'Lineal Descendants': the Origin's literary progeny Gillian Beer; 16. The Origin and political thought: from liberalism to Marxism Naomi Beck; 17. The Origin and philosophy Tim Lewens; 18. The Origin of Species as a book Michèle Kohler and Chris Kohler.


Joint review with The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, 2nd edition: ' … undeniably a great introduction to Darwin, his ideas and his legacies. With the wealth of historical and philosophical analyses, and the great variety of contributions covering major problems within the field, they constitute an indispensable tool for any teacher or student of Darwin and Darwinism. The general public will find a complete presentation of Darwin's thinking, while the scholarly can enjoy a number of revisionist claims sure to provoke responses, critical and otherwise.' Thierry Hoquet, The Journal of BJHS

'It will be very useful for students, scientist, historians, and everybody interested in this subject.' Mammalia

'… a respectable overview on a multitude of fronts from some of the most influential researchers in the field. This is nothing less than a precious treat. The Companion is the fruit of an ambitious yet equally prudent endeavour … a valuable text … on Darwin's most important book and its multidimensional influence …' Science and Education


Michael Ruse, Mark Largent, Robert Olby, Robert J. Richards, Philip Sloan, David Kohn, Abigail Lustig, Sandra Herbert, David Norman, Peter Bowler, Richard Richards, Lynn K. Nyhart, Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, David Depew, John Hedley Brooke, Gillian Beer, Naomi Beck, Tim Lewens, Michèle Kohler, Chris Kohler

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