The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches

Overview

When the Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology and natural history, as well as people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia, the Australasian coral reefs and the brilliance of the firefly - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made on the five-year voyage were to set in motion ...
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Overview

When the Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology and natural history, as well as people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia, the Australasian coral reefs and the brilliance of the firefly - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made on the five-year voyage were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the most controversial book of the Victorian age: The Origin of Species. This volume reprints Charles Darwin's journal in a shortened form. It contains an introduction on the background to Darwin's work, as well as notes, maps, appendices and an essay on scientific geology and the Bible by Robert FitzRoy, Darwin's friend and captain of the Beagle.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453704677
  • Publisher: CreateSpace
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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GALAPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO

The natural history of this archipelago is very remarkable: it seems to be a little world within itself; the greater number of its inhabitants, both vegetable and animal, being found nowhere else. As I shall refer to this subject again, I will only here remark, as forming a striking character on first landing, that the birds are strangers to man. So tame and unsuspecting were they, that they did not even understand what was meant by stones being thrown at them; and quite regardless of us, they approached so close that any number of them might have been killed with a stick.

The Beagle sailed round Chatham Island, and anchored in several bays. One night I slept on shore, on a part of the island where some black cones – the former chimneys of the subterranean heated fluids – were extraordinarily numerous. From one small eminence, I counted sixty of these truncated hillocks, which were all surmounted by a more or less perfect crater. The greater number consisted merely of a ring of red scoriae, or slags, cemented together: and their height above the plain of lave, was not more than from 50 to 100 feet. From their regular form, they gave the country a workshop appearance, which strongly reminded me of those parts of Stratfordshire where the great iron foundries are most numerous.

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Table of Contents

List of maps and illustrations vii
Acknowledgements viii
Chronology ix
Introduction 1
A note on this edition 27
Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches 29
Author's preface 33
Appendix 1 Admiralty instructions for the Beagle voyage 378
Appendix 2 Robert FitzRoy's 'Remarks with reference to the Deluge' 400
Biographical guide 425
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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    An Enlightening and Entertaining Read

    The Voyage of the Beagle, apart from being a poetic and engaging read, provides insight into Darwin the young naturalist. Filled with curiosity and discovery, Darwin's journalistic account of his time aboard the Beagle is of particular to interest to those with backgrounds in biology, anthropology, and geology. From Brazil to Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego to the Galapagos Islands, and Australia to Mauritius, Darwin gathered specimens, rode with the gauchos, and confronted the issue of slavery while on his 5-year voyage. In the grand scheme, The Voyage of the Beagle laid the conceptual and evidentiary groundwork for Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection. In that sense, The Voyage of the Beagle gives the reader a snapshot of the most transformative experience of Darwin's life and the evolution of Darwin himself. At times, Darwin's tone is a bit lecturing and Orientalist, though these habits are explicable given his scientific aspirations and British patronage. At other times, Darwin's tone is adventuresome and evocative, as when he describes Tahitian tattoos and a Chilean miner at work. Beyond containing the glimmers of evolution, as in Darwin observations of the similarities of the South American Tinochorus birds, Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle conveys a sense of wonder and enchantment toward nature that is enhanced by scientific inquiry. As such, The Voyage of the Beagle does not consist merely of a man rushing headlong into the world, seeking whatever thrills he may find. Rather, Darwin's quest was always informed by a purpose, a teleology, to understand how things are and expand the frontiers of science through naturalistic observation. Thus, Darwin gives the reader the following reflective advice: "before undertaking a long voyage, [one should possess] a decided taste for some branch of knowledge, which could by this means be advanced."

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    Posted December 1, 2008

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