MG's Reviews > Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman
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's review
Oct 03, 2010

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Read from October 02 to 03, 2010

A really interesting biography and one I read relatively quickly. I have been reading a few books on Darwin lately (and started his autobiography a while ago), so one devoted to his relationship with his religious and brilliant, open-minded wife was fascinating and moving. The conflict between evolution and creation has never been a personal one for me, as I believe that each reside on two different epistemological universes. But it is evident that since the publication of On the Origin of Species, the world would forever be shaped by its profound questioning of intelligent design and Biblical doxa.

Emma Darwin was extremely well-read, lively, and supportive of her husband's lifelong dedication to the study of natural history. And he, in turn, always gave his manuscripts to her first. She then edited his work for clarity and diction, even proofreading for his atrocious uses of commas. Reading On the Origin of Species and watching God slowly recede from Darwin's life was a source of anguish for her. But her love for him and her pride in his work was so very central to her existence. The biography includes letters and short diary entries written by the both of them. Their relationship was extraordinary.
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10/02/2010 page 198
73.0% "An interesting, very moving work so far."
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