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John Stevens Henslow is known for his formative influence on Charles Darwin, who described their meeting as the one circumstance "which influenced my career more than any other." A Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, Henslow was Darwin's teacher and eventual life-long friend, but what of the man himself? In this new biography, much previously unpublished material has been carefully gathered to produce a rounded picture of a remarkable academic and Victorian philanthropist. The time in 1829-31, when Darwin "walked with Henslow" in and around Cambridge, was followed directly by Darwin's voyage around the world. The gradually changing relationship between teacher and pupil over the course of time is revealed through their correspondence, illuminating a remarkable friendship that persisted, in spite of Darwin's eventual atheism and Henslow's never-failing liberal Christian belief, to the end of Henslow's life.
Jean Octave Edmond Perrier was a French zoologist who lived through the tumult of British Darwinism and Lyellism, and reminds us in this revealing account that French scientists had much to contribute to such perennial topics as evolution, catastrophism and creationism. While very much a product of the Third Republic, Perrier's account also aimed to outline timeless issues and permanent advances in taxonomic and developmental biology since classical Greece and Rome. In this aim he succeeds with surprisingly modern perspectives for a book first published in 1884. Perrier was born May 9, 1844 at Tulle, the son of the principal of a school which now bears his name, Lycee Edmond Perrier. In 1864 he was accepted to the Ecole Normale Superieure, where he was strongly influenced by Louis Pasteur and Henri de Lacaze-Duthiers. After working for three years at a high school in Agen, he obtained a post of naturalist-aid at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (1868), advancing in that institution to Chair of Natural History of Molluscs, Worms and Corals (1876-1903) and then Director of the museum (1900-1919) and Chair of Comparative Anatomy (1903-1921). Previous directors of the museum included many of the scientists he discusses in this book: George Cuvier (1822-1823, 1826-1827, 1830-1831), Isidore Geoffrey St Hilaire (1860- 1861), and Alphonse Milne-Edwards (1891-1900). Perrier's own research on echinoderms and earthworms took him on several expeditions in 1880-1885, mostly to Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, but also to the Caribbean.
George John Romanes, close friend and colleague of Darwin, remains a terribly misunderstood figure in the history of evolutionary science. Although his scientific contributions have been valued, his religious journey has been either neglected or misjudged. Typically scholars only acknowledge some of the work on theism he did at the very end of his life and usually blame his wife for doctoring the record with her pieties. His extensive poetry writing, much of it religious, has never been explored and his Memorial Poem to Darwin has been completely overlooked. The recent discovery of the original typescript of the poem, lost for more than a century and reprinted in this book for the first time, allows us to enter the mind of a major Darwinian as we watch him struggle to put together faith and science on a positive basis.
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