RECORD: Anon. 1876. [Review of Climbing plants]. Penn Monthly, vol. 7 (April) : 333-334.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe. 6.2021. RN1

NOTE: See the record for this item in the Freeman Bibliographical Database by entering its Identifier here. Darwin, C. R. 1875. The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition, revised, with illustrations. New York: D. Appleton and Co.


[page] 333

THE MOVEMENTS AND HABITS OF CLIMBING PLANTS, by Charles Darwin, 2d Edition, revised, with illustrations, New York, Appleton's, 1876, is marked by all the merit and all the modesty that make part of the charm of the confessedly greatest living naturalist. There is something of a local interest in learning that the suggestion of the subject came from a paper by Professor Asa Gray, our first American botanist, but this was carried on by observations made by Darwin and his son, aided by the principal English botanists, by Hooker with his staff at Kew, and by all who could give any help. The main purpose of the book is, of course, to add another to the

[page] 334

examples in nature that illustrate in a striking manner, the principle of the gradual evolution of species, but in doing so, it serves the least scientific reader with a very happy illustration of the immense field of research close at hand, for all who know where to look and how to observe. Apart from the technical nomenclature and the purely argumentative discussion and comparison of the conflicting views of botanists, all given with great fullness and fairness, there is just that kind of simple analysis of movements easily watched, now that the key is freely given, which ought to attract the attention alike of the man who loves nature for its own sake, and of the man of science who studies it for the sake of science. It is one of the elements of Darwin's greatness, as it is one of the secrets of his power, that the interest he himself takes in his studies, he inspires in others, by showing that he has simply done that which others can do, that in many cases he has been anticipated, and that at best he has only anticipated what still others may do.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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