Learning to See: Darwin's Prophetic Apprenticeship on the <i>Beagle</i> Voyage

George Levine

in Darwin the Writer

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608430
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731709 | DOI:
Learning to See: Darwin's Prophetic Apprenticeship on the Beagle Voyage

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This chapter takes Darwin's experience on the Beagle as his apprenticeship for his visionary science, which grew out of that experience. It focuses on his extraordinary capacity to ‘see’, and the way in which seeing, as for the critic John Ruskin, has a prophetic quality, allowing Darwin to recognize in every natural phenomenon a rich history that makes that phenomenon understandable. This model of seeing, and of learning how to write about what has been seen, becomes a key to Darwin's theory and to his power of infuse his scientific writing with deep feeling.

Keywords: visionary science; experience; Journal of Researches; vision; seeing; natural phenomenon; narrative; double movement

Chapter.  13797 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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