Charles Darwin: The Beagle Letters

ISBN 13: 9780521898386

Charles Darwin: The Beagle Letters

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9780521898386: Charles Darwin: The Beagle Letters
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This fascinating collection of letters written and received by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the HMS Beagle provides a first-hand account of a voyage of discovery that was as much personal as intellectual. Original watercolours by the ship's artist Conrad Martens vividly bring to life Darwin's descriptions.

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Product Description
Charles Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle is a gripping adventure story, and a turning point in the making of the modern world. Brought together here in chronological order, the letters he wrote and received during his trip provide a first-hand account of a voyage of discovery that was as much personal as intellectual. We follow Darwin's adventures as he prepares for his travels, lands on his first tropical island, watches an earthquake level a city, and learns how to catch ostriches from a running horse. We witness slavery, political revolution, and epidemic disease, and share the otherworldly experience of landing on the Galapagos Islands and collecting specimens. His letters are counterpoised by replies from family and friends that record a comfortable, intimate world back in England. Original watercolors by the ship's artist Conrad Martens vividly bring to life Darwin's descriptions of his travels.
 
Humorous Sketch of Darwin Catching Insects While Riding a Beetle

Amazon Exclusive: Excerpts from Letters Written and Received by Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin’s early impressions of H.M.S. Beagle captain Robert FitzRoy
Spring Gardens, September 6, 1831
To Susan Darwin:

    ...excepting that from Cap. FitzRoy wishing me so much to go, & from his kindness I feel a predestination I shall start.--I spent a very pleasant evening with him yesterday ... according to my notions preeminently good manners: He is all for Economy excepting on one point, viz fire arms he recommends me strongly to get a case of pistols like his which cost 60£!!, & never to go on shore anywhere without loaded ones. 

Portrait of Robert Fitzroy, 1835


Darwin’s girlfriend Fanny Owen, breaking up with him after he departs on the Beagle voyage:

Exeter, September 26, 1831
To Charles Darwin:

    I cannot bear to think you are really going clear away, without my saying one good bye!! ...did you throw yourself on the Governor’s mercy, & confess your creditors, or what have you done? What a capital way of escaping ungentlemanlike Tailors &c--When you are far from the Land they may whistle for their cash for what you care! ...I wish I had made your Pincushions they might have been useful-and occasionally in taking out an instrument of death for a Beetle you would have called to mind the Manufacturer of the useful article...

Charles Darwin spends a suspenseful evening in Montevideo and relates it to Susan Darwin
Montevideo, July 31, 1832
To Susan Darwin:

    We all thought we should at last be able to spend a quiet week, but alas the very morning after anchoring, a serious mutiny in some black troops endangered the safety of the town. --We immediately armed & manned all our boats, & at the request of the inhabitants, occupied the principal fort. --It was something new to me to walk with Pistols & Cutlass through the streets of a Town.  


Henry Matthew, friend of Darwin’s, living the writer’s life in London:
London, February 14, 1831
To Charles Darwin:

    My dear Darwin, We will meet again by God ...yet alas not in Cambridge--Contrive a time and place and I will be there--I answer your kind letter on the spirits engendered by a pint of Porter, The days of gin are over. I answer your generous remittance with a beggars gratitude with thanks ... I assure you I had the hard choice of accepting your kindness or a Jail, for I had already pawned my watch. God bless you. Things will soon I trust be better with me. I have not yet heard from the reviewers, but I have shown my attempts to a man well versed in the profession, and he says all sorts of fine things concerning them I begin to think that I shall be the next Poet Laureate ... I have just completed nine of the most sentimental stanzas ever edited for which I intend to get five guineas, so a sneer at Poetry touches at once my fruits and my fortunes Write soon, like a gentleman as you are...

About the Author:

Frederick Burkhardt (1912007) was the founder of the Charles Darwin Correspondence Project, and the associated high-profile book series The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (Cambridge University Press, 1985- ). He was the President of the American Council of Learned Societies from 1957 to 1974, and in 2003 was awarded the American Philosophical Society Thomas Jefferson Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences. This volume is the work of the Editors of the Charles Darwin Correspondence Project (http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk).

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