Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life

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Pimlico, 2002 - Evolution (Biology) - 340 pages
"In 1858, aged thirty five, weak with malaria, isolted 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. allace 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 of 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, Wallaces 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

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Evolution of a Naturalist
6
Apprenticeship on the Amazon
34
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

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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