Darwin's Mentor: John Stevens Henslow, 1796-1861

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John Stevens Henslow is known for his formative influence on Charles Darwin, who described their meeting as the one circumstance "which influenced my career more than any other." A Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, Henslow was Darwin's teacher and eventual life-long friend, but what of the man himself? In this new biography, much previously unpublished material has been carefully gathered to produce a rounded picture of a remarkable academic and Victorian philanthropist. The time in 1829-31, when Darwin "walked with Henslow" in and around Cambridge, was followed directly by Darwin's voyage around the world. The gradually changing relationship between teacher and pupil over the course of time is revealed through their correspondence, illuminating a remarkable friendship that persisted, in spite of Darwin's eventual atheism and Henslow's never-failing liberal Christian belief, to the end of Henslow's life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This fascinating book contains many beautiful illustrations and should appeal to naturalists and historians of science." Choice

"The book is handsomely produced...It touches on all aspects of Henslow's busy life and undoubtedly will be his definative biography." Journal of the History of Biology

"An enjoyable read, of interest both to academics and anyone wanting to know more about Darwin and his influences."
Southeastern Naturalist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521591461
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Walters has enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Cambridge spanning thirty five years, beginning in 1948 when he was appointed Curator of the Herbarium in the Botany School and afterwards Lecturer in Botany, and culminating in 1983 when he retired from the position of Director of the University Botanic Garden, a post which he held for the previous 10 years. He held a Research Fellowship at St. John's, Henslow's own college, and after that an Official Fellowship at King's College. His interest in John Stevens Henslow was awakened during his preparation of his book The Shaping of Cambridge Botany (1981), which considers in part the role played by Henslow in establishing the University Botanic garden on its present site. His research at that time revealed that a new biography of Henslow was possible and desirable, but it was not until some 15 years later, having found a suitable and willing co-author in Anne Stow, that he decided to take up the challenge and begin work on a new biography of this remarkable academic, the first to be published for more than 25 years.

Anne Stow, a Southampton graduate and a qualified librarian, is superbly positioned to join Max Walters in producing this biography of an eminent Cambridge scientist, having spent more than 30 years on the staff of the Scientific Periodicals Library (originally the Library of the Cambridge Philosophical Society) in the University of Cambridge, being Librarian for 15 years and gaining particular knowledge of the bibliography of science periodicals, and the science reference sources of the University Library and the Departmental Libraries. During much of this time she also worked closely with thePhilosophical Society, one of whose founders was John Stevens Henslow, taking specific responsibility for their archives, book collection and archive index.

Patrick Bateson is Provost of King's College, Cambridge and holds a Chair in the SubDepartment of Animal Behaviour, University of Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Foreword P. Bateson; Preface; Acknowledgements; List of figures; List of colour plates; Part I. Origins: 1. Family background: growing up in Kent and London; Part II. Cambridge: 2. The young Henslow at Cambridge; 3. Henslow: men who influenced him at Cambridge; 4. Harriet; 5. The young Professor; 6. Educating Charles Darwin and others; 7. The middle years: politics, policing and publication; 8. The Botanic Garden: old and new; 9. A liberal churchman; Part III. Hitcham: 10. Early years as Rector of Hitcham; 11. The Rector; 12. The later years; Epilogue; Appendix 1. Genealogical tables; Appendix 2. Chronology; Appendix 3. Dramatis personae; Appendix 4. Eponymous taxa; Appendix 5. Local botanical records; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index.

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