, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 113-115
Date: 10 Sep 2010

Early German Darwinism reconsidered

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For a long period, German evolutionism has been overshadowed by the “Darwin industry” with its concentration on the Anglo-American cultural tradition. Even such a towering figure of continental Darwinism as Ernst Haeckel remained bypassed in the monographic literature. The situation changed recently, first of all, due to path-breaking books by Mario Di Gregorio (Di Gregorio, M. From Here to Eternity, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005) and Robert Richards (Richards, R.J. The Tragic Sense of Life, Chicago, 2008). The book under consideration is one more step toward rethinking the pre-Darwinian and immediate post-Darwinian developments in German-language biology. The major objective of the book is to explore the early history of German Darwinism with a special attention to “how German Darwinism relates to Darwin’s own version” (5). To answer this question, the author explores the scientific worldview of Darwin’s German translator H. G. Bronn and the consequences of Bronn’s reading of Darwin fo