'An instinct for truth': Darwin on Galapagos

Lansdown, Richard (2000) 'An instinct for truth': Darwin on Galapagos. Critical Review, 40. pp. 109-122.

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Abstract

[Extract] Every island in the Pacific is different; every one has its claim on our attention. But as far as the Western world is concerned four islands or island groups beat the others into relative obscurity. Easter Island is one, with its enigmatic statues and mysterious indigenous population, long since massacred or dragged off to slavery in Peru. Hawai'i is another, with its 'Elvis Presley associations, its shirts, surfboards, hula-hula girls, and other such attractions. But those mighty opposites in terms of physical attraction, Tahiti and the Galapagos, have made a deeper intellectual impact than either Easter Island or Hawai'i. After its discovery by Samuel Wallis in 1767, Tahiti appeared to illustrate Rousseau's principle of the noble savage and thus to redefine that which is natural in man. Galapagos, in providing a key set of spurs to Darwin's thinking between 1835 and 1845, helped the great Victorian redefine that same question once more, though from a biological point of view rather than a cultural one.

Item ID: 13032
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 0070-1548
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 22:39
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950199 Arts and Leisure not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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