Charles Darwin's on the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation

Overview

A stunning graphic adaptation of one of the most famous, contested, and important books of all time.

Few books have been as controversial or as historically significant as Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Since the moment it was released on November 24, 1859, Darwin’s masterwork has been heralded for changing the course of science and ...

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Overview

A stunning graphic adaptation of one of the most famous, contested, and important books of all time.

Few books have been as controversial or as historically significant as Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Since the moment it was released on November 24, 1859, Darwin’s masterwork has been heralded for changing the course of science and condemned for its implied challenges to religion.

In Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, author Michael Keller and illustator Nicolle Rager Fuller introduce a new generation of readers to the original text. Including sections about his pioneering research, the book’s initial public reception, his correspondence with other leading scientists, as well as the most recent breakthroughs in evolutionary theory, this riveting, beautifully rendered adaptation breathes new life into Darwin’s seminal and still polarizing work.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The first part of this book gives the background and context in which Darwin developed his theory of natural selection. Arriving home in 1836 after five years of exploration aboard the Beagle, he is asked to explain what he learned. Thus the structure of this graphic novel is established. Through his voice, readers learn about his discoveries and observations, his correspondence with other scientists who helped him formulate his theories, as well as his personal life. The second section highlights the salient points of the original On the Origin of Species. Excerpts from it are included in almost every frame, carefully selected to illuminate the argument. They are differentiated by a gray background while dialogue bubbles and other more current scientific information appear on a white background. In the last section, Darwin looks into the future to explain important advances in the scientific world after the publication of Species, such as the acceptance of Mendelian genetics in 1900, the idea of continental drift in 1911, genetic recombination in 1931, the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, and the mapping of the human genome in 2000. Illustrations vary in size and are vital in illuminating text; animals are particularly colorful and well executed. The concepts introduced range from straightforward to highly complicated, so readers still have to work to grasp scientific meaning. However, on the 150th anniversary of Darwin's publication, one could not ask for a finer contribution to the realm of scientific writing.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Library Journal
"It is like confessing a murder," wrote Darwin, foreseeing that his complex work would upset millennia of theological tradition about the origins of life forms. Indeed, the creationism wars continue today. Now Rodale's lovely and multitextured version introduces a more accessible Darwin, no less complex—or fascinating. The graphic novel follows Origin's original chapters, combining snippets of Darwin's text with quotes from letters, illustrative examples from his time and from the present, and occasional invented dialog. Fuller's images of people seem clumsy, but her full-color plants, animals, charts, maps, and scientific accoutrements are attractive and effective. In drawings of three saber-toothed cats, for example, we can observe the "imperfection of the geological record" when only one animal perishes in a bog preserving the full skeleton. An afterword from Keller brings the scholarship up-to-date, from Mendel's pea plants to Wilson's sociobiology. A brief bibliography would have been a useful addition. VERDICT This new version well conveys both the science and the wonder of Origin. Highly recommended for high school age and up. Consider also Jay Hosler's more lighthearted The Sandwalk Adventures for tweens and up.—M.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605299488
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/27/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 184,432
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Keller, an award-winning journalist and writer, has a bachelor of science degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Nicolle Rager Fuller is a professional illustrator, with a bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry from Lewis and Clark College and a graduate certificate in science illustration from the University of California-Santa Cruz. She lives in Washinton, DC, with her husband.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Beginnings of A Theory 5

Part 2 On The Origin of Species 37

1 Variation under Domestication 41

2 Variation under Nature 47

3 Struggle for Existence 51

4 Natural Selection; or the Survival of the Fittest 61

5 Laws of Variation 79

6 & 7 Difficulties of the Theory and Miscellaneous Objections 87

8 Instinct 105

9 Hybridism 113

10 On the Imperfection of the Geological Record 117

11 On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings 125

12 & 13 Geographical Distribution 133

14 Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs 151

15 Recapitulation and Conclusion 165

Part 3 Afterword 171

Acknowledments 191

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