Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago

Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago

Hardback

By (author) Sir David Attenborough, Edited by John Van Wyhe, Edited by Kees Rookmaaker

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 46mm | 680g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199683999
  • ISBN 13: 9780199683994
  • Illustrations note: A number of black and white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 133,109

Product description

This volume brings together the letters of the great Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) during his famous travels of 1854-62 in the Malay Archipelago (now Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia), which led him to come independently to the same conclusion as Charles Darwin: that evolution occurs through natural selection. Beautifully written, they are filled with lavish descriptions of the remote regions he explored, the peoples, and fascinating details of the many new species of mammals, birds, and insects he discovered during his time there. John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker present new transcriptions of each of the letters, including recently discovered letters that shed light on the voyage and on questions such as Wallace's reluctance to publish on evolution, and why he famously chose to write to Darwin rather than to send his work to a journal directly. A revised account of Wallace's itinerary based on new research by the editors forms part of an introduction that sets the context of the voyage, and the volume includes full notes to all letters. Together the letters form a remarkable and vivid document of one of the most important journeys of the 19th century by a great Victorian naturalist.

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Author information

Kees Rookmaaker is a biologist specialising in the history of zoology. He has worked for the past eight years on Darwin and Wallace, including bibliography and transcriptions of notebooks and letters. He has also edited detailed surveys of all letters received by the Museum of Zoology, University in Cambridge during the 19th century. He is the author of over 200 papers and several books. He received the Founder's Medal of the Society for the History of Natural History.

Review quote

The book is a valuable addition to the literature on Wallace. The editing is scrupulous and detailed but not intrusive. The texts have been retranscribed and corrected. The illustrations are attractive and judiciously chosen. This is an excellent introduction to the formative years. Peter Raby, Literary Review it is good to have these letters in ahard copya, and, at AGBP16.99, this volume represents excellent value. Caroline Cornish, Journal of Historical Geography

Table of contents

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