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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Maleficent Seven (From the World of Skulduggery Pleasant)
Derek (ireland) Landy
Progress: 24/288 pages
V for Vendetta
David Lloyd, Alan Moore
Progress: 30/296 pages
Woken Furies
Richard K. Morgan
Progress: 408/565 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 166/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 164/448 pages

The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin (ed.)

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

This was the first published biography of Charles Darwin, as edited by one of his children. It's a little unusual in format, containing as it does, Darwin's (intended to be private) autobiography, a pile of Darwin's letters (up to 1860, the year Origin of Species was published), some memories from the editor and a final chapter by Huxley on the reception of Origin of species, from the perspective given by a 30 years' interval.


Previously I've found letters collections to give a lot of insight into the character of their authors, more so then their biographers do. The letters here make clear Darwin's conflict between his egotistical desire for "credit" and his Christianity-derived value of humility, which wins out in terms of his behaviour regarding Wallace. They also demonstrate Darwin's focus on scientific matters and his method of working as well as his ill-health through much of his adult life. I'm not sure I'd recommend this as a starting place for Darwin studies, though. Instead read The Voyage of the Beagle and Bowlby's biography first, (bearing in mind that the latter's Freudian theory of Darwin's character is less convincing than the theory that Darwin was Aspie, though).