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In addition to Darwin's scholarly books and articles, his voluminous letters make him perhaps the most prolific correspondent in the history of science. This body of work has been edited and presented selectively in a variety of sources, most notably the projected-32-volume Correspondence of Charles Darwin(Cambridge Univ., 1985-), and can be viewed at Darwin Online (
By comparison, the sections in Origins covering Darwin's Beagle correspondence contain around two dozen significant letters, while the much more expansive The Beagle Letters reprints over 200 from thatsame period, with details on every port of call. The scrutiny of this period (1831-36) is appropriate in that these were formative years when Darwin conducted the major field research that led to his formulation of evolutionary theories. These letters also tell a gripping tale of high seas adventure and exploration.