Forthcoming Book: "Dear Sir: Sixty-Nine Years of Alfred Russel Wallace Letters to the Editor" edited by Charles H. Smith and Kelsey Patterson

Leading Wallace scholar, Charles H. Smith of Western Kentucky University, is just finalising a new publication edited by himself along with Kelsey Patterson.

The book will include over 200 letters to the editor by Alfred Russel Wallace published between 1845 and his death in 1913. (more…)


NEW BOOK: "On the Organic Law of Change" by James T. Costa

This morning I received a new book ready for review: On the Organic Law of Change: A Facsimile Edition and Annotated Transcription of Alfred Russel Wallace’s Species Notebook of 1855-1859 by Jim Costa.

I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy for review. Wallace’s species notebooks were the field notebooks which Wallace wrote during his time in the Malay Archipelago (1854-1862). Of course, this period of his life is now immortalised due to it being the period in which he independently co-discovered the theory of natural selection with Darwin in 1858. (more…)

TALK in Southampton: "Remoulding Mill: the posthumous reputation of John Stuart Mill" by Prof. David Stack

Later this week there will be a talk by Professor David Stack of the University of Reading–which I will be chairing–on the philosopher John Stuart Mill and his posthumous reputation.

David Stack has previously done a great deal of work on the interaction between British politics and ideas and science including–most strikingly for me–a work on the The First Darwinian Left: Socialism and Darwinism 1859-1914. This included an excellent chapter on Alfred Russel Wallace and the relationship between his evolutionism and socialism. Well worth a read.

It should be an excellent talk. It will be taking place at the University of Southampton’s Avenue Campus in building 65a, room 3057 on 14 May 2014 at 14:00.

The talk is organised by the University of Southampton’s Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research (SCNR).

*David also published a shorter article on “The First Darwinian Left: Radical and Socialist Responses to Darwin, 1859-1914″in the journal, History of Political Thought, vol. 21, no. 4 (2000), which includes a section on Wallace on pp. 690-694.

Book Review: "Alfred Russel Wallace’s 1886–1887 Travel Diary: The North American Lecture Tour" edited by Charles H. Smith and Megan Derr

I have just had a new book review of published in the December 2013 volume of British Journal for the History of Science (vol. 46, no. 4).*

It is of the excellent Alfred Russel Wallace’s 1886–1887 Travel Diary: The North American Lecture Tour edited by Charles H. Smith and Megan Derr which has recently been published by the Siri Scientific Press.

It is a truly wonderful book which brings to life Wallace’s travel diary written during his 10 month lecture tour in the USA and Canada.

Importantly, it is not only of interest to those studying Alfred Russel Wallace but also for those interested in the history and reception of Darwinism in America, the history of botany, geology and various other sciences as well as general American social history as Wallace often makes comments about America in the late 1880s.

It is a delight to have the opportunity to take a journey around America at a time when it was changing rapidly with someone as perceptive as Wallace. And, with Smith and Derr’s additions, the context is greater expanded.


*You can read it either from my Academia.edu page or from the BJHS site. 

PAPER: Uneasy Bedfellows: Alfred Russel Wallace and Nineteenth-century ‘Socialist Darwinism’

I have published a paper on whether or not Alfred Russel Wallace’s socialism was incompatible with his evolutionism entitled: ‘Uneasy Bedfellows: Alfred Russel Wallace and Nineteenth-century ‘Socialist Darwinism’. Here is the abstract:

This paper’s object is to clarify the relationship between Alfred Russel Wallace’s (1823-1913) socialism and evolutionism. This paper contends that although conflicts emerge between Wallace’s socialism and Darwinism through the issues of the role of Malthusianism, the perfectibility of man and the role of individualism, he remained committed to the Darwinian Theory. Indeed, it will argue that, rather than undermining his belief in Darwinism, Wallace’s socialism evolved within the new intellectual conditions created by the ‘Darwinian Revolution.’ This paper argues that intellectual exchange between political thought and science enriched both, and concludes that to erect any barrier between the two distorts the historical and intellectual reality.

It can be accessed either from my Academa.edu page or from the original Reinvention site.