Hard Work, Occasional Unwellness, Discovering the Theory of Natural Selection, and Marriage

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

in Darwin's Illness

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032313
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039237 | DOI:
Hard Work, Occasional Unwellness, Discovering the Theory of Natural Selection, and Marriage

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This chapter starts when after his travels ended Charles Darwin took lodgings in Great Marlborough Street in London, and in the next twenty months, he became “engaged” in writing Journal of Researches, editing a zoology of the Beagle voyage, preparing accounts of the geology of the islands and countries the Beagle had visited, and serving on the Council of the Geological Society. When he was engaged in correcting the proof sheets of Journal of Researches, he experienced uncomfortable palpitation of the heart. On 1 May 1838, he noted he was “unwell”, meaning that he occasionally suffered from palpitations, headaches, and a disordered stomach, which occurred as single symptoms or in varying combination with each other. In November and December, he was sometimes troubled and “unwell”, from the pressures of doing Beagle zoology, searching for a London house, and working on a theory of evolution. Darwin doubtless knew that, although the theory of natural selection differed from that of Lamarck, he would have been as savagely attacked as Grant when was his theory to become publicly known. On 29 January in the following year, he and Emma were married quietly at Maer Church.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; unwell; theory of natural selection; Journal of Researches; Beagle; zoology; geology; Council of the Geological Society; palpitations; headaches

Chapter.  3540 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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