, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 329-333
Date: 29 Dec 2010

Julian Huxley on Darwinian evolution: A snapshot of a theory

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Julian Huxley was the oldest grandson of Darwin’s bulldog, Thomas Henry Huxley. He was the older brother of the novelist Aldous Huxley and half-brother of the Nobel Prize-winner Andrew Huxley. On his mother’s side he was descended from Dr Thomas Arnold, the great headmaster at Rugby School. His great-uncle was Matthew Arnold, the poet and critic. Naturally, therefore, great things were expected of him. He did not disappoint in this respect, despite being afflicted with those terrible depressions that seem to have run through the Huxley family, not least with his grandfather.

Huxley was educated at Eton school and then at Oxford University. Somewhat surprisingly, he then took a teaching post at Rice University in Houston Texas. This did not last long because the First World War had now started. Huxley returned to England, serving in the forces. Afterwards he held down academic jobs, first at Oxford and then in London. But he realized early that he did not much care for the tasks and rest ...

This specially invited essay review is part of a new series of re-appraisals of significant past books.