The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought

The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought

by Robert J. Richards
     
 

Prior to the First World War, more people learned of evolutionary theory from the voluminous writings of Charles Darwin’s foremost champion in Germany, Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), than from any other source, including the writings of Darwin himself. But, with detractors ranging from paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould to modern-day creationists and

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Overview

Prior to the First World War, more people learned of evolutionary theory from the voluminous writings of Charles Darwin’s foremost champion in Germany, Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), than from any other source, including the writings of Darwin himself. But, with detractors ranging from paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould to modern-day creationists and advocates of intelligent design, Haeckel is better known as a divisive figure than as a pioneering biologist. Robert J. Richards’s intellectual biography rehabilitates Haeckel, providing the most accurate measure of his science and art yet written, as well as a moving account of Haeckel’s eventful life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226712161
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
576
Sales rank:
1,005,150
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
 
1.         Introduction 
            The Tragic Source of the Anti-Religious Character of Evolutionary Theory
 
2.         Formation of a Romantic Biologist 
            Early Student Years
            University Years
            Habilitation and Engagement
 
3.         Research in Italy and Conversion to Darwinism
            Friendship with Allmers and Temptations of the Bohemian Life
            Radiolarians and the Darwinian Explanation
            Appendix: Haeckel’s Challenger Investigations
 
4.         Triumph and Tragedy at Jena
            Habilitation and Teaching
            Friendship with Gegenbaur
            For Love of Anna
            The Defender of Darwin
            Tragedy in Jena
 
5.         Evolutionary Morphology in the Darwinian Mode
            Haeckel’s Generelle Morphologie der Organismen
            Haeckel’s Darwinism
            Reaction to Haeckel’s Generelle Morphologie
            Conclusion
            Appendix: Haeckel’s Letter to Darwin
 
6.         Travel to England and the Canary Islands: Experimental Justification of Evolution
            Visit to England and Meeting with Darwin
            Travel to the Canary Islands
            Research on Siphonophores
            Entwickelungsmechanik
            A Polymorphous Sponge: The Analytical Evidence for Darwinian Theory
            Conclusion: A Naturalist Voyaging
 
7.         The Popular Presentation of Evolution
            Haeckel’s Natural History of Creation
            Conclusion: Evolutionary Theory and Racism
 
8.         The Rage of the Critics
            Critical Objections and Charges of Fraud
            Haeckel’s Responses to His Critics
            The Epistemology of Photograph and Fact: Renewed Charges of Fraud
            The Munich Confrontation with Virchow: Science vs. Socialism
            Conclusion
 
9.         The Religious Response to Evolutionism: Ants, Embryos, and Jesuits
            Haeckel’s Journey to the Tropics: The Footprint of Religion
            “Science Has Nothing to Do with Christ”—Darwin
            Erich Wasmann, a Jesuit Evolutionist
            The Keplerbund vs. the Monistebund
            The Response of the Forty-six
            Conclusion
 
10.       Love in a Time of War
            At Long Last Love
            The World Puzzles
            The Consolations of Love 
            Second Journey to the Tropics—Java and Sumatra
            Growth in Love and Despair
            Lear on the Heath
            The Great War
 
11.       Conclusion: The Tragic Sense of Ernst Haeckel
            Early Assessments of Haeckel Outside of Germany
            Haeckel in the English-Speaking World at Midcentury
            Haeckel Scholarship in Germany (1900–Present)
            The Contemporary Evaluation: Haeckel and the Nazis Again
            The Tragedy of Haeckel’s Life and Science
 
Appendix 1: A Brief History of Morphology
            Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)     
            Karl Friedrich Burdach (1776–1847)   
            Lorenz Oken (1779–1851)      
            Friedrich Tiedemann (1781–1861)       
            Carl Gustav Carus (1789–1869)          
            Heinrich Georg Bronn (1800–1862)    
            Karl Ernst von Baer (1792–1876)       
            Richard Owen (1804–1892)    
            Charles Darwin (1809–1882)  
 
Appendix 2: The Moral Grammar of Narratives in the History of Biology—the Case of Haeckel and Nazi Biology

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