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Look Inside Charles Darwin's Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin's Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle


  • Date Published: July 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521517577

£ 137.00

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About the Authors
  • This is the first full edition of the notebooks used by Darwin during his epic voyage in the Beagle. It contains transcriptions of all fifteen notebooks, which now survive as some of the most precious documents in the history of science. The notebooks record the entire range of Darwin's interests and activities during the Beagle journey, with observations on geology, zoology, botany, ecology, barometer and thermometer readings, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology and linguistics, along with maps, drawings, financial records, shopping lists, reading notes, essays and personal diary entries. Some of Darwin's critical discoveries and experiences, made famous through his own publications, are recorded in their most immediate form in the notebooks, and published here for the first time. The notebook texts are accompanied by full editorial apparatus and introductions explaining Darwin's actions at each stage, focussing on discoveries that were pivotal to convincing him that life on Earth had evolved.

    • Unique in containing new and previously unpublished accounts of Darwin's activities and interests on the Beagle,by Darwin himself
    • Editor's introduction to each notebook explains the notebook's relationship with the revolutionary importance of Darwin's work on the Beagle
    • Definitive edition with a general introduction, editorial apparatus and appendix, which highlights the importance of the entire voyage - not just the Galapagos - to Darwin's theory of evolution
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Not until now has it been possible to read in book form the immediate notes that Darwin himself had written in the little field notebooks that he carried with him … which takes us all the way to what a young man born two hundred years ago once saw when he was for some years very far from home.' Richard Darwin Keynes, editor of Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary (Cambridge University Press) and great-grandson of Darwin

    'This is the first time that Darwin's day-to-day notebooks from the Beagle voyage have been published in their entirety and the result is quite simply stunning. … The result is to render what is often considered to be the least readable of all Darwin's material instantly accessible and engaging for all. … hardly a page goes by without some gem jumping out and hinting at the scientific giant he would become.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    '… impressive … a meticulously edited piece … It provides some interesting dimensions about how scientific observation was made two centuries ago … as an archival source, it could definitely help graduate students in their research related to Darwin.' PaleoAnthropology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521517577
    • length: 650 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 173 x 33 mm
    • weight: 1.43kg
    • contains: 312 b/w illus. 10 maps 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword by Richard Darwin Keynes
    List of illustrations
    The Notebooks: Cape de Verds, Rio, Buenos Ayres, Falkland, B. Blanca, St. Fe, Banda Oriental, Port Desire, Valparaiso, Santiago, Galapagos, Coquimbo, Copiapò, Despoblado, Sydney
    Expedition equipment
    Chronological register

  • Editors

    Gordon Chancellor, University of Essex
    Gordon Chancellor is currently Business Manager at the UK Data Archive, University of Essex. He was formerly based at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and before that, managed several regional museums in the UK. He graduated in geology from the University of Wales in 1976, and completed his PhD in palaeontology at the University of Aberdeen, with periods of research at the Universities of Uppsala and Texas at Austin. He carried out post-doctoral research at the University of Oxford in the early 1980s, and began work on the initial transcriptions of the notebooks. He has published works on Cretaceous palaeontology as well as several scholarly papers on Darwin and the Beagle, and is now writing introductions to Darwin's geological publications as Associate Editor of Darwin Online.

    John van Wyhe, National University of Singapore
    John van Wyhe is an historian of science. He is the founder and Director of Darwin Online ( - the largest edition of Darwin's publications and manuscripts ever published, and a Bye-Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge (Darwin's own college). He recently led the restoration of Darwin's rooms at Christ's College. Dr van Wyhe's research has challenged the long-held view that Darwin held back or kept his theory secret for 20 years (Darwin's delay). His books include Charles Darwin's Shorter Publications, 1829–1883, with a foreword by Janet Browne and Jim Secord (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Darwin in Cambridge (Cambridge, Christ's College, 2009) and Darwin (Andre Deutsch, 2008, and National Geographic, 2009).


    Richard Darwin Keynes

    Assisted by

    Kees Rookmaaker

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