CHARLES DARWIN 1809 - 1882

Scientist Theorist Author Naturalist

Darwin’s Youth

 Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on the February 12, 1809  His father was a wealthy doctor and financier, Robert Darwin and his mother was Susannah Darwin.  Charles was baptized in the Anglican Church in keeping with his mother’s religious beliefs.  At age 16 he was sent to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he was repelled by surgery performed without anesthetics … he left school.

Darwin’s Schooling  In 1827 he started theology studies at

Christ's College, Cambridge  He was drawn to collect plants, insects, and geological specimens.  He pursued his interests in taxidermy, natural history, marine biology, botany and zoology.  At Cambridge he studied botany with the Reverend John Stevens Henslow  It was Henslow that recommended Charles to Robert FitzRoy, who was the caption of the HMS Beagle.

 Missions purpose was to chart the coastline of South America.  The voyage lasted 5 years.  Darwin spent a majority of that time on land and collected a variety of fossils and specimens of living organisms.  Studying the mockingbirds and tortoises in the area, the theory of the origin of the species began to take root in his mind.  In 1836, when he returned from his voyage, he was already quite famous. He had proved himself as a competent naturalist. Upon his return, he began catalog his collections and botanical specimens.

HMS Beagle’s Research
 In 1837 he presented his paper on the rising landmasses to the Geological Society of London.  He also received a grant of 1000 Pounds for his book ‘Zoology of the Voyage of the HMS Beagle’  In 1838, Darwin became the secretary of the Geological Society. Meanwhile he continued with his studies of transmutation of the species.  Most of the time he worked toward the completion of his book Origin of Species … which he feared to release because he believed that most would work to debunk all of his theories.

Naturalism & Darwin
 Darwin’s theories and ideas bore out of Origin of Species inspired not only a movement in science, but a movement in literature.  The revolt in thought created in Darwin’s theories reverberated through science, religion, politics and literature.  Emile Zola coined the phrase, "human beasts.”

Naturali sm:
•The term naturalism describes a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to its study of human beings. :


Human Beasts:
Characters, in literature, can be studied through their relationships to their surroundings. Naturalistic writers thus used a version of the scientific method to write their novels; they studied human beings governed by their instincts and passions. Naturalism is the application of the principles of scientific