Richard Owen: Biology without Darwin [NOOK Book]

Overview

In the mid-1850s, no scientist in the British Empire was more visible than Richard Owen. Mentioned in the same breath as Isaac Newton and championed as Britain’s answer to France’s Georges Cuvier and Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt, Owen was, as the Times declared in 1856, the most “distinguished man of science in the country.” But, a century and a half later, Owen remains largely obscured by the shadow of the most famous Victorian naturalist of all, Charles Darwin. Publicly marginalized by his contemporaries ...

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Richard Owen: Biology without Darwin

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Overview

In the mid-1850s, no scientist in the British Empire was more visible than Richard Owen. Mentioned in the same breath as Isaac Newton and championed as Britain’s answer to France’s Georges Cuvier and Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt, Owen was, as the Times declared in 1856, the most “distinguished man of science in the country.” But, a century and a half later, Owen remains largely obscured by the shadow of the most famous Victorian naturalist of all, Charles Darwin. Publicly marginalized by his contemporaries for his critique of natural selection, Owen suffered personal attacks that undermined his credibility long after his name faded from history.

 

With this innovative biography, Nicolaas Rupke resuscitates Owen’s reputation. Arguing that Owen should no longer be judged by the evolution dispute that figured in  only a minor part of his work, Rupke stresses context, emphasizing the importance of places and practices in the production and reception of scientific knowledge. Dovetailing with the recent resurgence of interest in Owen’s life and work, Rupke’s book brings the forgotten naturalist back into the canon of the history of science and demonstrates how much biology existed with, and without, Darwin

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Owen (1804-1892) was Britain's foremost comparative anatomist and vertebrate paleontologist, and founder of London's Natural History Museum; however, as the most renowned opponent of natural selection, he became the bete noire of the Darwinian evolution debate. In this comprehensive intellectual and scientific biography, Rupke (history of medicine, U. of Gottingen) argues that Owen was no simple-minded anti-evolutionist and, moreover, should be freed from the distortion of the evolution dispute that was only a minor part of his work, yet has come to dominate his memory. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226731780
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Nicolaas Rupke is professor of the history of science at Göttingen University and the author of Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Chronology of Richard Owen's Life and Times
A Note on Citation
Introduction: Personality Matters 1
Ch. 1 Museum Politics (I) 12
Ch. 2 Museum Politics (II) 70
Ch. 3 Gothic Designs 106
Ch. 4 The Vertebrate Blueprint 161
Ch. 5 Eclipsed by Darwin 220
Ch. 6 Cerebral Constructs 259
Ch. 7 Frames of Mind 287
Ch. 8 The Scientific Estate 323
Appendix: Anatomy of Owen's Scientific Oeuvre 353
Notes and References 355
Bibliography 400
Index 445
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