EXTRACTS FROM Extract from Darwin

Cover page.


CHAPTER 1: BOY (1809-1831)

Finding the Name in the Flower

  • The Chapel School
  • The Year My Mother Died
  • Stealing the Affections of Dogs
  • The Miser
  • He Doubts Humanity is an Innate Quality
  • Barmouth
  • Wonders of the World
  • The Efficacy of Prayer
  • Treasure Map
  • Ugly
  • He Discovers a New Source of Joy

The Problem of Pain

  • He Looks for Lodgings with His Older Brother
  • Haunted
  • He Hangs Out with a Taxidermist
  • On the Ova of Flustra
Bliss Castle

The Coddington Microscope

  • Held
  • He Reads that the Membrane in a Goldfinch Egg is Proof of Divine Design
  • On Asking a Museum Guard to Draw the Curtain Before Titian’s Venus

A Desperate Way to Avoid Paying Your Tailor

CHAPTER 2: JOURNEY (1831-1836)

Sliding Giddily off into the Unknown

  • The Awfulness of Plymouth
  • Cat o’ Nine Tails
  • Bay of Biscay
  • Plankton
  • Like Giving to a Blind Man Eyes
  • Lavender Light in a Leap Year
  • A Quarrel in Bahia Harbour
The Flower Garden at Maer
  • He Replies to his First Letter from Home
  • In the Seraglio
  • Another Letter from a Sister

Leaving Brazil

  • The Thumbscrews of Rio
  • Remembering Milton in the Night at Sea

Red Snow

  • Christmas at Port Desire
  • Algae from the Arctic
  • Giant Bugs of the Pampas

On Not Thinking About Variation in Tortoise-Shell

CHAPTER 3: CITY (1837-1838)

Notebook B

  • He Finds His Own Definition of Grandeur
  • On The Propagation of Mistletoe
  • The Free Will of an Oyster

Notebook M

The Tiger in Kensington Gardens

What is An Emotion?

  • The Devil as Baboon
  • Why Hermaphrodite is Second-Best
  • Whiteness at the End of a Distant View
  • The Balance Sheet
  • His Father Advises
  • How Do Species Recognize Their Mate?
  • The Gatekeeper
  • The Hour before Sunday School
CHAPTER 4: EMMA (1838-1851)
The Most Transparent Man I Ever Saw
  • Tropical Forest
  • She Didn’t Think He Cared
  • He Ignores his Father’s Advice
  • A Path Around a Lake
  • Cold Water Thrown on the Head

He Pitches a Dead Dog Out of the Garden


  • Symptoms
  • She Writes Him a Note about Salvation
  • He Leaves a Message on the Edge
  • Hog’s Lard
  • Raw Lemon

A Natural History of Babies

On the Distribution of Erratic Boulders

  • Father Says I May Often Take Calomel
  • She Thinks the Hairs Under his Arm Grow Like a Crescent Moon


  • The Extreme Verge of the World
  • A Sacred Feeling about Orchids
  • The Confession
  • The Pond Spirit
  • More Funny Ideas about Grandeur

Epiphany in Leicester Public Library

The Sea Will Do Us All Good

CHAPTER 5: THE COAT OF FUR (1851-1882)

The Ostrich

  • The Devil’s Chaplain
  • Submission to the Will of Heaven
  • Chloroform

Encounter in the Backroom of the Insect Collection

I Never Saw a More Striking Coincidence

  • Survival of the Fittest
  • Journey up the Sadong River
  • Salting the Seeds
  • Painting the Bees
  • A Birthday On the Island of Ternate
  • The Human Form Divine
  • A Spot of Malaria in the Moluccas
  • A Crunch on the Gravel
  • Your Words Have Come True with a Vengeance
  • A Wave of Scarletina in the Home Counties
  • The Comet
  • Forgive this Trumpery Letter
  • The Tell-Tale Tongue
  • The Terrestrial Crust
  • The Black and the Green

My Abominable Volume

  • A Pigeon Fancier’s Manual
  • The Open Window
  • Biblical

The Extra Eye

The Descent of Man

  • I think I Shall Dislike It Very Much
  • Muscle at the Corner of the Mouth
  • They Give Him a Coat of Fur

He Discovers a Portrait of his Mother

I Made the Coffin as He Wanted It, All Rough

Page 29


The deck is dazzle, fish-stink, gauze-covered buckets.
Gelatinous ingots, rainbows of wet flinching amethyst
and flubbed, iridescent cream. All this
means he's better; and working on a haul of lumpen light:
polyps, plankton, jellyfish and sea butterflies, the pteropods.
"So low in the scale of nature, so exquisite in their forms!
You wonder at so much beauty – created,
apparently, for such little purpose!" They lower his creel
to blue pores of subtropical ocean. Wave-flicker, white
like a gun-flash over the blown heart of sapphire.
Peacock eyes, beaten and swollen,
tossing on lazuline steel.
           ...through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand Banners rise into the Air
With Orient Colours waving...

Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1, 544-546

"The night pitch dark. The whole sea luminous.
Every part of water which by day is seen as foam
glowed with pale light. The vessel drove before her bows

two billows of liquid phosphorus. Her wake was a milky train.
As far as the eye reached, the crest of every wave was bright;
& from the reflected light, the sky – just above horizon –

not so utterly dark as the rest of the Heavens.
Impossible to behold this plain of matter as it were melted
& consumed by heat without remembering Milton!"
He's glad that she is glad. He has not publicly
rejected a Creator and he hardly mentioned Man.
"Psychology will now be based on a new foundation:
the acquirement of each necessary power. Capacity
by gradation." That was all. The soon-to-be
Archbishop of Canterbury explains you can, indeed,
square evolution with a God. "God operates
through the slow work of natural cause."
He gets a fan letter from Charles Kingsley, novelist.
"Even better than making the world, God makes
the world make itself.” He watches her smile
at Lenny and open a window for fresh air.
Religion: the burned heart in its thorns; a rock face
shot with quartz on which the sun
shines as it rises, lighting the rock to fire.
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