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The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and…
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The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary…

by Robert J. Richards

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226712141, Hardcover)

Prior to the First World War, more people learned of evolutionary theory from the voluminous writings of Charles Darwin’s foremost champion in Germany, Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), than from any other source, including the writings of Darwin himself. But, with detractors ranging from paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould to modern-day creationists and advocates of intelligent design, Haeckel is better known as a divisive figure than as a pioneering biologist. Robert J. Richards’s intellectual biography rehabilitates Haeckel, providing the most accurate measure of his science and art yet written, as well as a moving account of Haeckel’s eventful life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Prior to the First World War, more people learned of evolutionary theory from the voluminous writings of Charles Darwin's foremost champion in Germany, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), than through any other source, including the writings of Darwin himself. Haeckel's books vastly outsold Darwin's in their own time, and today his extraordinary scientific illustrations adorn books, posters, and coffee mugs. Haeckel gave currency to the idea of the "missing link" between apes and man, formulated the concept of ecology, and promulgated the "biogenetic law" - the idea that the embryo of an advanced species recapitulates the stages that the species went through in its evolutionary descent. But with detractors ranging from paleontologist Stephen Joy Gould to modern-day creationists and advocates of intelligent design, Haeckel is better known as a divisive figure than as a pioneering biologist. Robert J. Richards's intellectual biography rehabilitates Haeckel, providing the most accurate measure of his science and art yet written, as well as a moving account of Haeckel's eventful life." "The Tragic Sense of Life examines the intellectual context as well as the intimate experiences and profound convictions that allowed Darwin's message to become almost a religious calling for Haeckel. Far from shying away from the many controversies that marked Haeckel's life and career, Richards engages Haeckel's many challengers and dissenters, whose accusations against him range from the charge that he falsified some of his famous drawings to the supposedly proto-Nazi quality of his biological theories. Reappraising Haeckel's accomplishments, artistic endeavors, many battles, personal relationships, and searing loves, Richards convincingly demonstrates the enormous impact Haeckel had on biology and larger scientific affairs during the last half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century." "The definitive account of Darwin's greatest intellectual heir, The Tragic Sense of Life is a sweeping reevaluation of the Romantic ideas and calamitous biography of a man whose vision of evolutionary theory is still influential today."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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