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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Abstract

#brevity #darwin #book

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

David Quammen

2007

2019-05-20

"The big book on natural selection remained unfinished by Darwin and unpublished during his lifetime...and [mosty] didn't see daylight until 1973 when the scholar named R. Stauffer edited it for publication. Although Stauffer's Edition is useful as textual background, its main value lies in making the Origin look good by contrast. How lucky for readers that Alfred Wallace barged in when he did."

- David Quammen, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (2007)

Wallace expressing similar evolutionary ideas pushed Darwin to publish more quickly to secure (joint?) priority. Science Magazine reviewed Stauffer's edition, commenting, "What can I say except that Natural Selection is a joy to read?" So opinions vary, probably based on your craving for detail.