Darwin's Pictures

Views of Evolutionary Theory, 1837-1874

Julia Voss; Translated by Lori Lantz

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In this first-ever examination of Charles Darwin’s sketches, drawings, and illustrations, Julia Voss presents the history of evolutionary theory told in pictures. Darwin had a life-long interest in pictorial representations of nature, sketching out his evolutionary theory and related ideas for over forty years. Voss details the pictorial history of Darwin’s theory of evolution, starting with his notebook sketches of 1837 and ending with the illustrations in The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). These images were profoundly significant for Darwin’s long-term argument for evolutionary theory; each characterizes a different aspect of his relationship with the visual information and constitutes what can be called an “icon” of evolution. Voss shows how Darwin “thought with his eyes” and how his pictorial representations and the development and popularization of the theory of evolution were vitally interconnected.

Voss explores four of Darwin’s images in depth, and weaves about them a story on the development and presentation of Darwin’s theory, in which she also addresses the history of Victorian illustration, the role of images in science, the technologies of production, and the relationship between specimen, words, and images.

Julia Voss, a scholar in history of science, art history, and picture theory, is Executive Editor of the visual arts section of the large German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She has received two awards for the German edition of Darwin’s Pictures: the 2006 Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society and the 2009 Sigmund Freud Prize for Science Writing by the German Academy for Language and Literature. Lori Lantz is the translator of Bears: A Brief History.

“This attractive and readable book makes a valuable contribution to Darwin studies--precise, historically accurate, provided here in an excellent translation, and on a subject that is bound to fascinate.”--Janet Browne, author of Charles Darwin: Voyaging and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place

“Each chapter richly details not only Darwin’s preoccupation with visual depictions, but also his deep involvement in the networks of zoologists, collaborators, draftsmen, artists, and others involved in the production of the visual images he seeks and struggles with. As such, the work explores the relationship between science, art, and representation; contemporary British scientific and popular culture; and the varied communities and networks with which Darwin interacts during various periods of his scientific life.”—Mark B. Adams, University of Pennsylvania

". . . a very satisfying book and a worthy addition to the Darwinian literature."--The Quarterly Review of Biology

“There is much here for scientists and intellectuals – not least today’s champions of evolution – to learn from.”—Systematic Biology Vol.60 No.3

"Julia Voss has done us all a great service with her telling of the importance of the visual in the Darwinian Revolution. . . . All in all, this is a very satisfying book and a worthy addition to the Darwinian literature."—Michael Ruse, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"Students and scholars of the rhetoric of science should consider [Julia Voss’ book] required reading… This is a work that may turn sceptics into Darwin enthusiasts, if not science enthusiasts, and will surely give those who need no further encouragement the deep satisfaction of a truly good read."—Kathryn Tabb, Springer
ISBN: 9780300141740
Publication Date: June 15, 2010
368 pages, 5 1/2 x 8.25
63 b/w + 16 color illus.

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