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Book Club November 6, 2023, 2-4pm – Fellows and External Fellows – Zoom only

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November 6, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

November 6, 2023, 2-4pm – Fellows and External Fellows

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859)

Discussion Leader: Sara Shettleworth

Widely regarded as one of the most important books ever published, ‘The Origin’ sold out on the day of publication. It sold 3800 copies in its first year and in Darwin’s lifetime was reprinted multiple times in successive editions. As its popularity suggests, much of the book is quite accessible. For those who prefer not to read all of it, the main argument is included in the Preface and the first four chapters (130 pages). Here Darwin lays out his evidence for the three essential ingredients that lead inevitably to evolution: variation among individuals of a species, “survival of the fittest” of those individuals, who then pass on their advantageous characteristics thanks to the principal of inheritance. In Chapters 5-13 Darwin presents various objections that might be raised against his theory and argues against them. Selective readers may choose as many or few of these as they wish, but the final chapter, “Recapitulation and Conclusion” (30 pages) is essential, ending as it does with the poetic, much-quoted “tangled bank” passage. (Available in all formats: 514 pages* plus notes)

*Details of page and chapter numbers refer to the Harvard paperback facsimile of the first edition, which has a useful introductory discussion of its social and scientific context by the eminent biologist Ernst Mayr.  This edition is recommended, though there are cheaper paperbacks. And for those who want more, Darwin Online http://darwin-online.org.uk/ has all his books in multiple editions and languages, biographical material, his wife’s diaries, and much else.

The link to register is https://forms.office.com/r/abACWZ0qR8

The deadline to register is the Monday before the event at 8:00am. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants only.

If you have any questions, please contact the organizer – Linda Hutcheon at l.hutcheon@utoronto.ca.


November 6, 2023
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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