Alfred Russell Wallace
By (author) Peter Raby
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Alfred Russell Wallace by Peter Raby
Book DescriptionIn 1858, aged thirty-five, weak with malaria, isolated in the remote Spice Islands, Alfred Russel Wallace wrote to Charles Darwin: he had, he said excitedly, worked out a theory of natural selection. Darwin was aghast - his work of decades was about to be scooped. Within a fortnight, his outline and Wallace's paper were presented jointly in London. A year later, with Wallace still at the opposite side of the world, "On the Origin of Species" was published. Wallace had none of Darwin's advantages or connections. Born in Usk, Gwent, in 1823, he left school at fourteen and in his mid-twenties spent four years in the Amazon collecting for museums and wealthy patrons, only to lose all his finds in a shipboard fire in mid-Atlantic. He vowed never to travel again. Yet two years later he was off to the East Indies, beginning an eight-year trek over thousands of miles; here he discovered countless unknown species and identified for the first time the point of divide between Asian and Australian fauna, 'Wallace's Line'. With vigour and sensitivity, Peter Raby reveals Wallace as a courageous and unconventional explorer. After his return, he plunged into a variety of controversies, staying vital and alert until his death at the age of 90, in 1913. Gentle, self-effacing, and remarkably free from the racism that blighted so many of his contemporaries, Wallace is one of the neglected giants of the history of science and ideas. This stirring biography - the first for many years - puts him at centre stage, where he belongs.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780712665773
(234mm x 156mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 7-Mar-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Peter Raby
Oscar Wilde in Context, Hardback (December 2013)
Concise and illuminating articles explore Oscar Wilde's life and work in the context of the turbulent landscape of his time.
Cambridge Companion to Harold Pinter, Hardback (March 2009)
Updated edition of this popular Companion examining the wide range of Pinter's work, and his continuing impact and influence.
Fair Ophelia, Paperback (December 2003)» View all books by Peter Raby
The remarkable life and career of Harriet Smithson Berlioz, a talented actress who became a symbol of the Romantic spirit.
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Author Biography - Peter Raby
Peter Raby is Research Reader in English and Drama at Homerton College, Cambridge. His previous books include Fair Ophelia; a Life of Harriet Smithson Berlioz and the widely praised biography, Samuel Butler, as well as Bright Paradise: Victorian Scientific Travellers, and a recent study, Aubrey Beardsley and the 1890s. He also writes for the theatre and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde. He lives near Cambridge, on the edge of the Fens.
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