HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Check out the Pride Celebration Treasure Hunt!
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of…
Loading...

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (2009)

by Deborah Heiligman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
72810819,512 (3.94)27

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith - Heiligman
Audio performance by Rosalyn Landor
4 stars

This biography is intended for a young adult audience. It is not overly complex, but it is surprisingly detailed. Many biographies for young people paint a rosy picture of their subjects, skimming over controversial details. This book is built around the controversial issue; Charles Darwin, his Theory of Evolution, and its effect on 19th century Christian theology. It is also the story of a marriage.

The book is not focussed on Darwin as a scientist or on his theory, although these things are clearly, if briefly, presented. It is solidly researched. I never thought the author was guilty of putting words into the mouths of her subjects. She quotes from diaries, letters, Darwin’s notebooks, and other publications. She gives explanatory historical context about the 19th century concerning transportation, medical practices, and social behavior that would definitely be helpful to a young reader.

This book is about Darwin’s personal and family life. It begins with his agonised decision about whether or not to marry. His approach was typically scientific and obsessive. He made a list of pros and cons. The number of objections exceeded the number of benefits. But, apparently, the evolutionary sexual drive to increase the species won out. He married his cousin. They had ten children. They lost three of them in childhood.

The book’s subtitle reflects the author’s attention to an ever present factor of the Darwin marriage. Emma Darwin was a religious woman. Even before the marriage, at the time of his proposal, Charles has significant religious doubts. He did not attempt to disguise his opinions, but he was also sensitive, and very anxious, over the distress his beliefs would cause his future wife. (Later, he agonized over the explosive effect the publication of his theory would have among the scientific and religious communities.) Using letters and diary entries, Heiligman demonstrates that the couple continued an open and respectful theological debate throughout their marriage. To all appearances they had a long and happy marriage. ( )
  msjudy | Apr 27, 2019 |
This book is a biography of Charles and Emma Darwin, giving each about equal weight. It gives the Darwin's family life about equal weight w/ Darwin's scientific work. This is a fine structure, and works well since both Charles and Emma left a lot of written matter behind them, suitable for the biographer. I have read a few Darwin books by now, and this is the first to discuss the origins of Emma's devoutness, attributing it in part to the death of her closest sister as an adult. It also follows the Darwins through many infant and child deaths, not just those of their own children but also of the children of their close friends, like the Huxleys and the Hookers. These deaths were a fact of Victorian life, and it is reasonable to remember it.

Darwin, being a big softy, was distressed by his wife's suffering during childbirth. He couldn't ignore it. The fourth time, he actually used the new wonder drug, chloroform, to knock Emma out, and was delighted to have spared her so much pain. But it _never_ occurred to him to reduce her pain and make it more likely that she wouldn't die on him, by actually choosing to avoid pregnancy. It's facts like these, that 200 years ago an intelligent, empathetic person couldn't even think of saving the life of someone he cared deeply for and relied on by avoiding a pregnancy, that makes us so grateful for the courageous contraception advocates like Margaret Sanger. Theirs was an uphill battle, alright, and it's still going on today, witness the death threats against Melinda Gates. ( )
  themulhern | Dec 31, 2018 |
An effective, engaging look at a the personal life of a scientist and thinker whose life still affects us today. Heiligman's look at CD's life through the lens of his relationships with his family, wife and children is revealing and interesting. Excerpts from the extensive correspondence between Charles & Emma and their relatives & friends illuminate CD's life beyond The Beagle. Particularly moving were the accounts of love of and loss of their children.

( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
An effective, engaging look at a the personal life of a scientist and thinker whose life still affects us today. Heiligman's look at CD's life through the lens of his relationships with his family, wife and children is revealing and interesting. Excerpts from the extensive correspondence between Charles & Emma and their relatives & friends illuminate CD's life beyond The Beagle. Particularly moving were the accounts of love of and loss of their children.

( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
Charles Darwin and his wife, Emma, were deeply in love and very supportive of each other, but their opinions often clashed. Emma was extremely religious, and Charles questioned God's very existence.
  HoughHouse | Jul 20, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
... she [Emma] wrote, "The sincerity of showing yourself as you really are.  The real good it would do the world not to have artificial sins." (163)
Charles had written in one of his notebooks, "Definition of happiness the number of pleasant ideas passing through mind in given time."  Now he found happiness not just in his mind; he found it in real life. (93)
They borrowed some novels from the library, starting a lifelong tradition of reading together—usually Emma read to Charles while he rested from his work.  Charles liked novels with happy endings, and he once wrote, "I often bless all novelists.  A surprising number have been read aloud to me... and I like all if moderately good, and passed.  A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if it be a pretty woman all the better." (91)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Charles Darwin and his wife, Emma, were deeply in love and very supportive of each other, but their opinions often clashed. Emma was extremely religious, and Charles questioned God's very existence.

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.94)
0.5 1
1 1
1.5
2 6
2.5 2
3 34
3.5 22
4 95
4.5 13
5 47

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,513,367 books! | Top bar: Always visible