Sunday, May 20, 2007

Some very charming letters

of Charles Darwin's printed in the Times Week in Review section. (Here's the Darwin Project website.)

Here's Darwin at age 12 complaining about his sister:

Just as I was going, she said she must ask me not a very decent question, that was whether I wash all over every morning — no — then she said it was quite disgustin — then she asked me if I did every other morning, and I said no — then she said how often I did, and I said once a week, then she said of cour you wash your feet every day, and I said no, then she begun saying how very disgusting and went on that way a good while. ...so then I went and told erasmus, and he bust out in laughing and said I had better tell he to come and wash them her self, besides that she said she did not like sitting by me or Erasmus for we smelt of not washing all over, there we sat arguing away for a good while.

And here's a good one for my book, an 1844 letter to a botanist friend:

I have been now ever since my return engaged in a very presumptuous work & which I know no one individual who wd not say a very foolish one.— I was so struck with distribution of Galapagos organisms &c &c & with the character of the American fossil mammifers, &c &c that I determined to collect blindly every sort of fact, which cd bear any way on what are species. — I have read heaps of agricultural & horticultural books, & have never ceased collecting facts — At last gleams of light have come, & I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a “tendency to progression” “adaptations from the slow willing of animals” ... but the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his — though the means of change are wholly so — I think I have found out (here’s presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends.

3 comments:

  1. Have you read 'Darwin's Plots' by Alice Beer? Her theis is that Darwin has affected almost every novel since The Origin. I like your counterfactual novel plot.

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  2. I don't remember the priest telling me when I went to Confession when I was a kid, "Well, Lance, it was wrong of you to disobey your mom and talk back to her like that, but since you set the table every night and do your homework and sent your aunt a birthday card, what the heck! You're a good kid. Your sins are forgiven automatically. No need for you to do any penance." 文秘 心脑血管 糖尿病 高血压 糖尿病 高血脂 高脂血症 冠心病 心律失常 心肌病 心肌炎 中风 偏瘫 脑出血心律失常 什么是心力衰竭 神经衰弱 心肌梗死 心脏瓣膜病 先天性心脏病 动脉硬化 风湿性心脏病 脑瘫 癫痫 羊角风 老年性痴呆 低血压 急性感染性心内膜炎 雷诺综合症 脑血栓 血栓闭塞性脉管炎 周围血管异常 肺心病 什么是心绞痛 脑梗塞 And maybe it's happened a few times and I haven't heard about it but I can't recall a judge ever letting somebody walk on the grounds the crook was a good guy and his friends really like him.

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