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Darwin the Writer$
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George Levine

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608430.001.0001

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Learning to See: Darwin's Prophetic Apprenticeship on the Beagle Voyage

Learning to See: Darwin's Prophetic Apprenticeship on the Beagle Voyage

Chapter:
(p.37) 2 Learning to See: Darwin's Prophetic Apprenticeship on the Beagle Voyage
Source:
Darwin the Writer
Author(s):

George Levine

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608430.003.0002

This chapter takes Darwin's experience on the Beagle as his apprenticeship for his visionary science, which grew out of that experience. It focuses on his extraordinary capacity to ‘see’, and the way in which seeing, as for the critic John Ruskin, has a prophetic quality, allowing Darwin to recognize in every natural phenomenon a rich history that makes that phenomenon understandable. This model of seeing, and of learning how to write about what has been seen, becomes a key to Darwin's theory and to his power of infuse his scientific writing with deep feeling.

Keywords:   visionary science, experience, Journal of Researches, vision, seeing, natural phenomenon, narrative, double movement

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