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Book Description
‘A GOOD IDEA THAT HAS RUN AMOK’ – AN ACCOUNT OF WALLACE’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION AND THE SUBSEQUENT DIMINUTION OF HIS ROLE

Octavo (234 x 155mm), pp. ix, [1 (maps)], 370, [2 (blank l.)]. Tortoise device on title and part-titles, 16 half-tone illustrations, facsimiles, and maps in the text, some full-page. (Occasional very light spotting, a few ll. lightly creased.) Original black cloth, spine lettered in gilt, dustwrapper designed by Neil Stuart using photograph by Catherine Stuart, not price-clipped. (Edges of bookblock a little spotted, extremities lightly rubbed and bumped, upper hinge slightly loose, dustwrapper creased and with very short tear at edges, slightly faded and with small hole on spine). A very good copy. Provenance: Stephen John Keynes OBE, FLS (1927-2017).
Dealer Notes
First edition. Written by the American journalist and author Arnold C. Brackman ‘A Delicate Arrangement reveals for the first time how Darwin and two eminent scientific friends conspired to secure priority and credit for that theory [of natural selection] for Charles Darwin. In a dramatic and masterful reconstruction of the critical thirteen days between Darwin’s receipt of Wallace’s paper and the formal announcement of the theory, Arnold Brackman relentlessly details Darwin’s crisis, the arrangement he arrived at with his friends, and how and why he rushed to publish his phenomenally successful The Origin of Species a year later’ (dustwrapper blurb).

Historians’ reception of Brackman’s approach was critical at the time. Janet Browne, the author of the acclaimed two-volume biography Charles Darwin (1995-2002) wrote: ‘A Delicate Arrangement is a good idea that has run amok. Brackman turns the Darwin-Wallace story on its head to reveal what he believes to be a series of intellectual crimes in mid-Victorian Britain. Darwin, he asserts, stole part of the theory of evolution from Wallace and conspired with Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker to cover this up’. After addressing some flaws in Brackman’s methodology in presentation, Brown did, however, accept that ‘there is definitely something odd about the Darwin-Wallace story, and Brackman is right to stir it up’, adding that he usefully traces the disappearance of some documents as well as Lyell and Hooker’s role in the arrangement of how Darwin’s and Wallace’s papers were presented to the Linnean Society (Isis 72:2 (1981), p. 324).
Author BRACKMAN, Arnold C.
Date 1980
Publisher New York: Times Books

Price: £19.50

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