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On the basis of extensive material in the form of letters, pamphlets and the recollections of friends and contemporaries, Jules Marcou (1824–1898) tells the story of the life and work of Louis Agassiz in this two-volume work of 1896. The Swiss-born palaeontologist, glaciologist and zoologist (1807–1873) is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the modern American scientific tradition. Marcou, a fellow countryman and collaborator of Agassiz, does not attempt to conceal his high regard for the subject of his biography but does have 'in view the truth'. In a chronological narrative, Volume 1 traces the childhood and early professional success of Agassiz, and Volume 2 describes Agassiz' career in the United States. Although Darwin believed that the Swiss scientist's theory on parallelisms provided evidence for evolution, Agassiz was no evolutionist but saw the plan of God everywhere in nature.
Volume 1: Preface; Introduction; 1. 1807–1827. Ancestry; 2. 1827-1832. Journey from Carlsruhe to Munich; 3. 1831–1832. First visit to Paris; 4. 1832–1835. Agassiz's first establishment at Neuchâtel; 5. 1836–1837. The Wollaston Medal; 6. 1836–1837 continued and 1838. Discussion raised by Agassiz's Discourse at Neuchâtel; 7. 1838–1840. Agassiz's scientific activity; 8. 1841–1842. Visit during the winter to the Aar Glacier; 9. 1843–1844. 'Recherches sur les poissons fossiles'; 10. 1845. 'Monographie des Myes'; 11. 1846. Departure from Neuchâtel, March, 1846; 12. 1846 continued –1847. Arrival in America, and reception by Mr. John A. Lowell. Volume 2: 13. 1847 continued–1849. Agassiz's visits to the markets; 14. 1849 continued–1852. Philadelphia; 15. 1852 continued–1855. Lectures before the Smithsonian Institution at Washington; 16. 1856–1858. 'Contributions to the Natural History of the United States'; 17. 1858–1864. Visit to Europe; 18. 1858–1864 continued. Darwin's 'Origin of Species'; 19. 1858–1864 continued. 'The Philosophers' Camp' in the Adirondacks; 20. 1865–1867. Journey to Brazil; 21. 1868–1870. Three letters to Jules Marcou; 22. 1871–1872. Voyage on the 'Hassler'; 23. 1873. The Anderson School of Natural History at Penikese Island; 24. Physical and moral characteristics; Appendices; Index.