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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Illness

#darwin #book

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution

David Quammen

2007

2019-05-13

"Darwin's work on the transmutation coincided with his early complaints about what became chronic bad health. Symptoms were mysterious: jumping heart, nausea, vomiting, headaches, nervous excitement, inordinate flatulence. Was he a hypochondriac? Had he been bitten and infected by some nasty disease during a beagle stop over in Argentina? Many guesses have been made, but nobody knows to this day what ailed him. Just before the voyage he experienced some cardiac discomfort, possibly reflecting his high state of nervous anticipation, yet seemed otherwise to be a healthy young man and he'd stayed robust throughout most of those 5 years. [But later], social gatherings flurried him, intense conversations flurried him, conflict or the very idea of it, made him ill.” - David Quammen, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (2007)

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