John van Wyhe - Author

About the Author

John van Wyhe is a historian of science at the University of Cambridge. He is the founder and Director of Darwin Online, a Bye-Fellow of Christ's College (Darwin's own college) and a member of the British Society for the History of Science. Van Wyhe's recent research has challenged the long-held view that Darwin kept his theory secret for 20 years (Darwin's delay).

Van Wyhe is publishing four books and numerous shorter items on Darwin for 2009: an edited volume of Darwin's shorter publications, Darwin's notebooks from the voyage of the Beagle, a booklet on Darwin in Cambridge and an accessible book on Darwin and evolution which contains many facsimile documents, Darwin.

Featured books by John van Wyhe

Other books by John van Wyhe

Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2017

Through a reassessment of phrenology, Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism sheds light on all kinds of works in Victorian Britain and America which have previously been unnoticed or were simply referred to with a vague 'naturalism of the times' explanation. It is often assumed that the scientific naturalism familiar in late nineteenth century writers such as T.H. Huxley and John Tyndall are the effects of a 'Darwinian revolution' unleashed in 1859 on an unsuspecting world following the publication of The Origin of Species. Yet it can be misleading to view Darwin's work in isolation, without locating it in the context of a well established and vigorous debate concerning scientific naturalism. Throughout the nineteenth century intellectuals and societies had been discussing the relationship between nature and man, and the scientific and religious implications thereof. At the forefront of these debates were the advocates of phrenology, who sought to apply their theories to a wide range of subjects, from medicine and the treatment of the insane, to education, theology and even economic theories. Showing how ideas about naturalism and the doctrine of natural laws were born in the early phrenology controversies in the 1820s, this book charts the spread of such views. It argues that one book in particular, The Constitution of Man in Relation to External Objects (1828) by George Combe, had an enormous influence on scientific thinking and the popularity of the 'naturalistic movement'. The Constitution was one of the best-selling books of the nineteenth century, being published continuously from 1828 to 1899, and selling more than 350,000 copies throughout the world, many times more than Dawin's The Origin of Species. By restoring Combe and his work to centre stage it provides modern scholars with a more accurate picture of the Victorians' view of their place in Nature.

Alfred Russel Wallace Letters from the Malay Archipelago

Alfred Russel Wallace Letters from the Malay Archipelago

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/07/2015

This volume brings together the letters of the great Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) during his famous travels of 1854-62 in the Malay Archipelago (now Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia). it was these travels which led him to come independently to the same conclusion as Charles Darwin: that evolution occurs through natural selection. Beautifully written, the letters are filled with lavish descriptions of the remote regions he explored, the peoples, and fascinating details of the many new species of mammals, birds, and insects he discovered during his time there. John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker present new transcriptions of each of the letters, including recently discovered letters that shed light on the voyage and on questions such as Wallace's reluctance to publish on evolution, and why he famously chose to write to Darwin rather than to send his work to a journal directly. A revised account of Wallace's itinerary based on new research by the editors forms part of an introduction that sets the context of the voyage, and the volume includes full notes to all letters. Together the letters form a remarkable and vivid document of one of the most important journeys of the 19th century by a great Victorian naturalist.

The Annotated Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

The Annotated Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/03/2015

Wallace's Malay Archipelago is a classic account of the travels of a Victorian naturalist through island Southeast Asia. It has been loved by readers ever since its publication in 1869. Despite numerous modern reprints with appreciative introductions, this is the first - and long overdue - annotated edition in English. This edition explains, updates and corrects the original text with an historical introduction and hundreds of explanatory notes. Wallace left hundreds of people, places, publications and species unidentified. He referred to most species only with the scientific name current at the time. Whenever available, the common names for species have been provided, and scientific names updated. The content of the book has never been thoroughly analysed and compared against other contemporary sources. It turns out that the book contains many errors. This includes not just incorrect dates and place names but some of the most remarkable anecdotes; for example, the dramatic claim that tigers kill on an average a Chinaman every day in Singapore or that a Dutch Governor General committed suicide by leaping from a waterfall on Celebes. By correcting the text of the Malay Archipelago against Wallace's letters and notebooks and other contemporary sources and by enriching it with modern identifications this edition reveals Wallace's work as never before.

Charles Darwin In Cambridge: The Most Joyful Years

Charles Darwin In Cambridge: The Most Joyful Years

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/07/2014

Charles Darwin's years as a student at the University of Cambridge were some of the most important and formative of his life. Thereafter he always felt a particular affection for Cambridge. For a time he even considered a Cambridge professorship as a career and sent three of his sons there to be educated. Unfortunately the remaining traces of what Darwin actually did and experienced in Cambridge have long remained undiscovered. Consequently his day-to-day life there has remained unknown and misunderstood. This book is based on new research, including newly discovered manuscripts and Darwin publications, and gathers together recollections of those who knew Darwin as a student. This book therefore reveals Darwin's time in Cambridge in unprecedented detail.

Charles Darwin In Cambridge: The Most Joyful Years

Charles Darwin In Cambridge: The Most Joyful Years

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/07/2014

Charles Darwin's years as a student at the University of Cambridge were some of the most important and formative of his life. Thereafter he always felt a particular affection for Cambridge. For a time he even considered a Cambridge professorship as a career and sent three of his sons there to be educated. Unfortunately the remaining traces of what Darwin actually did and experienced in Cambridge have long remained undiscovered. Consequently his day-to-day life there has remained unknown and misunderstood. This book is based on new research, including newly discovered manuscripts and Darwin publications, and gathers together recollections of those who knew Darwin as a student. This book therefore reveals Darwin's time in Cambridge in unprecedented detail.

Dispelling The Darkness: Voyage In The Malay Archipelago And The Discovery Of Evolution By Wallace And Darwin

Dispelling The Darkness: Voyage In The Malay Archipelago And The Discovery Of Evolution By Wallace And Darwin

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/07/2013

The facts of variability, of the struggle for existence, of adaptation to conditions, were notorious enough; but none of us had suspected that the road to the heart of the species problem lay through them, until Darwin and Wallace dispelled the darkness. T H Huxley (1887)Darwin is one of the most famous scientists in history. But he was not alone. Comparatively forgotten, Wallace independently discovered evolution by natural selection in Southeast Asia. This book is based on the most thorough research ever conducted on Wallace's voyage. Closely connected, but worlds apart, Darwin and Wallace's stories hold many surprises. Did Darwin really keep his theory a secret for twenty years? Did he plagiarise Wallace? Were their theories really the same? How did Wallace hit on the solution, and on which island? This book reveals for the first time the true story of Darwin, Wallace and the discovery that would change our understanding of life on Earth forever.

Charles Darwin's Shorter Publications, 1829-1883

Charles Darwin's Shorter Publications, 1829-1883

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/03/2009

Charles Darwin's words first appeared in print as a student at Christ's College, Cambridge in 1829, and in almost every subsequent year of his life he published essays, articles, letters to editors, or other brief works. These shorter publications contain a wealth of valuable material. They represent an important part of the Darwin visible to the Victorian public, alongside his ever present sense of humour, and reveal an even wider variety of his scientific interests and abilities, which continued to his final days. This book brings together all known shorter publications and printed items Darwin wrote during his lifetime, including his first and his last publications, and the first publication, with A. R. Wallace, of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. With over seventy newly discovered items, the book is fully edited and annotated, and contains original illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography.

Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/03/2004

Through a reassessment of phrenology, Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism sheds light on all kinds of works in Victorian Britain and America which have previously been unnoticed or were simply referred to with a vague 'naturalism of the times' explanation. It is often assumed that the scientific naturalism familiar in late nineteenth century writers such as T.H. Huxley and John Tyndall are the effects of a 'Darwinian revolution' unleashed in 1859 on an unsuspecting world following the publication of The Origin of Species. Yet it can be misleading to view Darwin's work in isolation, without locating it in the context of a well established and vigorous debate concerning scientific naturalism. Throughout the nineteenth century intellectuals and societies had been discussing the relationship between nature and man, and the scientific and religious implications thereof. At the forefront of these debates were the advocates of phrenology, who sought to apply their theories to a wide range of subjects, from medicine and the treatment of the insane, to education, theology and even economic theories. Showing how ideas about naturalism and the doctrine of natural laws were born in the early phrenology controversies in the 1820s, this book charts the spread of such views. It argues that one book in particular, The Constitution of Man in Relation to External Objects (1828) by George Combe, had an enormous influence on scientific thinking and the popularity of the 'naturalistic movement'. The Constitution was one of the best-selling books of the nineteenth century, being published continuously from 1828 to 1899, and selling more than 350,000 copies throughout the world, many times more than Dawin's The Origin of Species. By restoring Combe and his work to centre stage it provides modern scholars with a more accurate picture of the Victorians' view of their place in Nature.

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