Peter will be talking about “Alfred Russel Wallace, Explorer, Evolutionist and Campaigner: Seeking the Bubble Reputation” as part of the “Victorian Reputations” seminar series organised by the new Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-century Research (SCNR) based at the University of Southampton.
Here is the abstract:
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) is perhaps now most famous for his co-discovery of the theory of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin. However, his achievements extend well beyond the ground-breaking paper of 1858. In addition to pioneering the study of the distribution of animals (which earned him the sobriquet of the ‘father of biogeography’) he was at the vanguard of a vast variety of scientific, social and political discussions and debates.
So why is his reputation less striking than that of his contemporary, Charles Darwin? Peter Raby–author of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life (2001)–will provide us a with a consideration of Wallace and his reputation looking at three aspects in particular: 1. Wallace’s selection of Darwin, and other factors affecting his reputation during his lifetime; 2. Wallace and the academy; 3, Wallace in the twenty-first century: butterflies and birds of paradise.
As the abstract highlights, Peter wrote the 2001 biography of of Wallace entitled Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life which to this date remains the most readable and excellent of the Wallace biographies in print. As a first port of call, I always advise people new to Alfred Russel Wallace to start their journey with Peter’s work. Indeed, it was the first biography of Wallace I read myself back in 2008.
The talk will take place at 17:00 at the Avenue Campus of the University of Southampton in building 65, Lecture Theatre B (room 1201).