Monday, February 11, 2008

The want of tails in young cats

Checking quotations is one of the final jobs that must be done for an academic book manuscript before it is sent to the publishers, and also one of the most tedious. I have been very lucky this time round to get some high-quality help from an extremely accomplished graduate student who has done almost all of the work for me, and in a quite wonderful fashion!

We're just tracking down the last few things this week, and I am delighted to have found online a facsimile of the correct edition of August Weismann's altogether wonderful Essays on Heredity and Kindred Biological Problems (1889).

This means that I can tell you all to go and read one of the couple very best things I came across as I read for this book (John Passmore and Timothy Nourse are possibly my other two personal favorite discoveries, though there were all sorts of other lovely things like the seventeenth-century botanist John Ray's Wisdom of God Reflected in the Works of the Creation): Weismann's essay "On the Supposed Transmission of Mutilations" (1888).

I cannot figure out how to paste in page images from the PDF file, but I especially recommend the discussion on pages 426 and following (the whole essay is about thirty pages long, but it's taken from a book with continuous pagination) of tailless cats...


  1. Does this mean the book on heredity will be out soon? Does it have an ISBN yet?

  2. Well, depends what you mean by soon! Not sure about ISBN, but I think not quite yet. I'm handing in the final manuscript next week--my editor is devoutly hoping it will be out in time for the MLA conference in December of this year...