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Books > History > B00FI007L4
  1. Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago
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  2. Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago

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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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

I bought it for someone else and they love it.
I had been looking forward to reading John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker's new book Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago as the adverts for it state that it contains "recently discovered letters". I was keen to see these and add them to our comprehensive online archive of all of Wallace's correspondence, Wallace Letters Online ([...] and was at the same time puzzled by how they had found letters which we had missed! Turning to the list of letters in Appendix 1 of their book which lists the repositories which own the originals of the letters plus other details about them, I saw that 5 letters did not have WCP numbers - the unique identifiers which our Wallace Correspondence Project gives to each letter that we catalogue. Great, I thought, these must be the ones we missed! I was to be disappointed, however, as every one of them was already present in our database, and clearly the authors had simply omitted the WCP numbers for them.

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