On topics ranging from intelligent design and climate change to the politics of gender and race, the evolutionary writings of Charles Darwin occupy a pivotal position in contemporary public debate. This volume brings together the key chapters of his most important and accessible books, including the Journal of Researches on the Beagle voyage (1845), The Origin of Species (1859), and The Descent of Man (1871), along with the full text of his delightful autobiography. They are accompanied by generous selections of responses from Darwin's nineteenth-century readers from across the world. More than anything, they give a keen sense of the controversial nature of Darwin's ideas, and his position within Victorian debates about man's place in nature.
The wide-ranging Introduction by James A. Secord, Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project, explores the global impact and origins of Darwin's work and the reasons for its unparalleled significance today. To increase its usefulness for readers coming to Darwin for the first time, the selection also includes a map of the Beagle voyage, a detailed chronology of Darwin's life, and a biographical appendix identifying every individual mentioned in the text.