Charles and Emma (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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Overview

A thought-provoking biography of the man behind evolutionary theory.

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. One hundred and fifty years later, the theory of evolution continues to cause tension between scientific and religious communities. But did you know this debate raged within Darwin himself? Learn about the man behind the theory in an exploration of ...

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Overview

A thought-provoking biography of the man behind evolutionary theory.

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. One hundred and fifty years later, the theory of evolution continues to cause tension between scientific and religious communities. But did you know this debate raged within Darwin himself? Learn about the man behind the theory in an exploration of history, science, and religion.

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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Barcott
…a delightful book about the question at the heart of the Darwins' marriage…In today's climate of division between religion and science, it's instructive to read about a marriage in which the two cultures improved each for exposure to the other.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

This rewarding biography of Charles Darwin investigates his marriage to his cousin Emma Wedgwood. Heiligman (the Holidays Around the World series) has good reason for this unusual approach: as deeply as they loved each other, Emma believed in God, and Charles believed in reason. Embracing the paradoxes in her subjects' personalities, the author unfolds a sympathetic and illuminating account, bolstered by quotations from their personal writings as well as significant research into the historical context. We meet Charles as he weighs the pros and cons of wedded life-but then seeks his father's advice (Darwin père urges him to conceal his religious doubts); Emma becomes a more fervent believer after the death of her favorite (and more religious) sister. Heiligman writes for motivated readers, and her style can be discursive (mention of a letter can introduce a few sentences on the British postal system). Her book allows readers not only to understand Darwin's ideas, but to appreciate how Emma's responses tempered them. Eight pages of photos, not seen by PW.Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Patti Sylvester Spencer
Creationism again leaped front and center with the help of the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate. In this courtship and marriage biography, the author examines an unlikely but powerful bond between cousins, the Origins of the Species scientist and the religious devotee love of his life. Beginning with Darwin's "to marry or not to marry" pro/con lists through Emma editing Charles' autobiography so that it would be less "offensive," the couple provided for each other sounding board, respected opposition, and beloved soulmate. Naturalist, voyager, and revolutionary thinker, Charles proved wrong his father's early concern: "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and your family.o Instead of being footnoted, the primary source quotations that abound are documented as end-of-book, source-notes. The author includes family trees and a selected bibliography. In a century of texting and iMing, readers might marvel at the importance of letters and the time it takes correspondence and people to travel. The volume provides a unique blend of romance, scientific observations, explanations of medical practices prevalent in the early-nineteenth century, and opportunities to examine scientific discoveries and religious beliefs in detail. The book might be of particular use in interdisciplinary course work. Reviewer: Patti Sylvester Spencer
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Beginning with Darwin's notorious chart listing reasons to wed and not to wed, Heiligman has created a unique, flowing, and meticulously researched picture of the controversial scientist and the effect of his marriage on his life and work. Using the couple's letters, diaries, and notebooks as well as documents and memoirs of their relatives, friends, and critics, the author lets her subjects speak for themselves while rounding out the story of their relationship with information about their time and place. She shows how Darwin's love for his intelligent, steadfast, and deeply religious cousin was an important factor in his scientific work-pushing him to document his theory of natural selection for decades before publishing it with great trepidation. Just as the pair embodied a marriage of science and religion, this book weaves together the chronicle of the development of a major scientific theory with a story of true love. Published for young adults, this title will be equally interesting to adults drawn to revisit Darwin on his 200th birthday.-Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA

Kirkus Reviews
This rich, insightful portrait of Charles and Emma Darwin's marriage explores a dimension of the naturalist's life that has heretofore been largely ignored. Emma was devoutly religious while Charles's agnosticism increased as he delved deeper into his studies of natural history, but they did not let this difference come between them. While unable to agree with Charles's theory that essentially eliminated God from the process of creation, Emma remained open-minded and supportive, even reading drafts of The Origin of Species and suggesting improvements. Using excerpts from correspondence, diaries and journals, Heiligman portrays a relationship grounded in mutual respect. The narrative conveys a vivid sense of what life was like in Victorian England, particularly the high infant mortality rate that marred the Darwins' happiness and the challenges Charles faced in deciding to publish his controversial theory. While this book does not serve as an introduction to Darwin's life and ideas, readers wanting to know more will discover two brilliant thinkers whose marital dialectic will provide rich fodder for discussions of science and faith. (introduction, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606237703
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 836,524

Meet the Author

Deborah Heiligman has written more than twenty books for children, most of them nonfiction, including three other biographies. She is married to Jonathan Weiner, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for The Beak of the Finch.

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Read an Excerpt

Charles and Emma

The Darwins' Leap of Faith
By Heiligman, Deborah

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Copyright © 2008 Heiligman, Deborah
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780805087215

Chapter 1

Better Than a Dog

Why, the shape of his head is quite altered.

—DR. ROBERT DARWIN, IN 1836,

AFTER CHARLES’S FIVE-YEAR VOYAGE


In the summer of 1838, in his rented rooms on Great Marlborough Street, London, Charles Darwin drew a line down the middle of a piece of scrap paper. He had been back in England for almost two years, after a monumental voyage around the world. He was in his late twenties. It was time to decide. Across the top of the left-hand side, he wrote Marry. On the right he wrote Not Marry. And in the middle: This is the Question. It was easy for Charles to think of things to write under Not Marry.

"Freedom to go where one liked," he began. Charles loved to travel. His voyage had lasted almost five years; he had been the naturalist on the HMS Beagle, a British surveying ship. He was horribly seasick while on board, but he spent as much time as he could on land, exploring on horseback and onfoot, and collecting thousands of specimens, from corals in the Cocos-Keeling Islands of the Indian Ocean to beetles in Australia to a fox in Chiloé Island, Chile. He now lived in London with his servant from the Beagle, Syms Covington, "Fiddler and Boyto the Poop Cabin." Charles had taught Syms to shoot and skin birds and to help him list and catalogue the specimens. Now Charles and Syms were surrounded by neatly stacked wooden crates, casks, and barrels filled with many of their treasures from Patagonia, Brazil, Chile, and Tierra del Fuego: fossil bones, skins, shells, fish preserved in spirits of wine, mammalia in spirits of wine, insects, reptiles and birds in spirits of wine, plants, rocks, carcasses of dead animals, and beetles. What if Charles wanted to go on another adventure and collect more specimens? How could he do that if he got married?

Next, under Not Marry he wrote: "—choice of Society & little of it.—Conversation of clever men at clubs—" On Great Marlborough Street, Charles lived just a few doors away from his older brother, Erasmus, and he was

spending much of his time with Eras and his circle of intellectual friends, which included the historian and writer Thomas Carlyle and his wife, Jane; the writer Harriet Martineau; and the Darwins’ first cousin, Hensleigh Wedgwood. They discussed the huge changes in England brought on by industrialization. When Charles had left for his voyage, there were a few trains; now the railroad zigzagged all over the country, reaching places only horse-drawn carriages had gone before. The growing number of mills and factories changed the landscape as well; towns and cities were expanding, as was the division between rich and poor. The rich benefited from the new industry and from Great Britain’s burgeoning empire.

The poor suffered in the squalor that Charles Dickens was capturing so well in his serialized novels. Erasmus and his circle debated the Poor Laws, which were shunting the destitute into workhouses; they discussed the need for social

reform.

There were divisions in religion in nineteenth-century England, too. Religious zealots and religious dissenters were making noise while members of the Church of England and Unitarians like the Darwins also quietly questioned their

faith. Freethinking liberals, Eras and his circle were respected members of the British upper classes, and Charles found it easy—and stimulating—to be with them. Because they were open-minded and liberal, Charles knew he could broach with them some of the radical scientific thoughts he was beginning to have. This was what mattered to him. Not going to dinner parties, teas, and other torturous social occasions where people inundated him with seemingly endless questions about his travels.

Not that all of his social occasions were torturous. Charles was spending time with—and being courted by—three sisters in one family. The Horner girls were clever young women, well-read and educated, with promising intellectual

futures. They even shared his interest in natural history, geology, and zoology. Their oldest sister, Mary, was already married to a new friend of his, Charles Lyell, a prominent geologist. Mr. Horner approved of Charles Darwin as a son-inlaw and hoped for a match. "I have not seen anyone for a long time with a greater store of accurate knowledge," he wrote to Mary. Erasmus teased Charles, calling Mrs. Horner "Motherin-law." So the marriage question was not hypothetical. And Charles Darwin was a good catch. He was a tall man, about six feet, thickset—big but not fat. He was athletic and fit from his adventures on the voyage. He dressed conservatively in the styles of the day: tailcoat, fine linen shirt with standing collar, and tall hat. He had gray eyes, a ruddy complexion, and a pleasant face, though he did not like his nose, which he felt was too big and bulbous. He was from an upstanding, wealthy

family; he had much to talk about, and he had a promising future. His reputation had, as they say, preceded him. While he was traveling, Charles had sent back thousands of his specimens to his old Cambridge professor, John Stevens Henslow. Some of these specimens had begun to make him famous in the natural history world before he had even returned to England, including a rare fossil head of a giant ground sloth he had found in Argentina "in horizontal position in the cemented gravel; the upper jaw & molars exposed," as Charles had written in his first geological specimen notebook. The remarkable fossil sloth head had been presented at a meeting of the British Association of the Advancement of Science in Cambridge.

But if he were to marry one of the Horner girls, or anyone else, he could see the obligations ahead, whereas if he remained single, he would be freer to pursue his science. He added to the Not Marry side of his list, "Not forced to

visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle." He liked his brother, his sisters, his cousins the Wedgwoods. But what if he didn’t like his wife’s relatives? There was so much compromising you had to do if you were married. He could see it in his friends, many of whom had gotten married while he was away.

Walking down the street one day not long after he had gotten back, he had seen his cousin Hensleigh carrying a child in one hand and a round box in the other. Hensleigh had married a cousin from the other side of his family in 1832, the year Charles left on the voyage. (First cousins often married at this time, especially in the upper classes.) Now Hensleigh had two children, and Charles shuddered at the thought of all the juggling a young father had to do. Did he want the responsibility? His reaction to this scene was so strong that it made the rounds of the family gossip: Emma Wedgwood, Hensleigh’s sister, wrote to her sister-in-law with amusement how struck Charles was by Hensleigh’s juggling. Not surprising, therefore, that Charles continued his Not Marry list with "—to have the expense & anxiety of children— perhaps quarrelling." It wasn’t just the time and distraction that worried him; although he was frugal, he doubted he would ever make enough money by collecting beetles and writing about coral. Lack of money always led to fights, that he knew. And could he stand the anxiety and worry of having children? Cholera, a deadly disease, had just reached England for the first time, and there were epidemics of typhus, typhoid fever, and scarlet fever. Children got sick, children died. So there would be worry about health along with worry about money. And it all would take so much time. That was the crux of the issue. He wrote and underlined twice "Loss of time."

Charles needed as many hours a day as he could have to do his work. First of all, he had

Continues...


Excerpted from Charles and Emma by Heiligman, Deborah Copyright © 2008 by Heiligman, Deborah. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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