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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

Wanderlust

Wanderlust

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2019

Wanderlust is the true story of Ida Pfeiffer (1797-1858), one of the most remarkable female travellers who ever lived - a housewife who decided to follow her dreams despite the strong disapproval of society. At a time when it was considered utterly impossible, Pfeiffer set off alone to travel the world. Along the way, she survived storms at sea, parched deserts, plague, malaria, drowning, earthquakes, robbers, murderers, head hunters and cannibals. She became the first woman to circle the globe alone - and then the first to do so twice. As a result of her incredible exploits and her best-selling travel books, Pfeiffer became one of the most famous women in the world in the nineteenth century. Hers is a tale that culminates in spies, intrigue, a botched revolution and a remarkable career cut tragically short by one voyage too many.

Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback / softback 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.

The Annotated Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

The Annotated Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

Author: John van Wyhe Format: Paperback / softback 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.

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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