Monday, April 10, 2017

Samantha Evans's "Darwin and Women"

Samantha Evans is an associate editor of the Darwin Correspondence Project at the University of Cambridge.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Darwin and Women: A Selection of Letters, and reported the following:
My page 99, I'm relieved to find, is representative in one way: it features a letter from Dora Roberts, who seems otherwise completely unknown to history. This shows that you can use the archives of great figures from history to throw light of the lives of unknown people, as well. She wrote to Darwin after the publication of his book, Expression of the emotions in man and animals. This was one of his most popular publications, and many people wrote to him with anecdotes about the behaviour of people and animals that they knew. The animal stories in particular show how closely many people lived with the natural world. Dora tells the story of a hen ('very indignant because not provided with eggs to sit upon for some time past') that kept stealing kittens from a mother cat and on one occasion carried them somehow to a high shelf where the cat couldn't reach them. The cat went for help to a cook ('A cat came to the cook mewing piteously and expressing both grief & excitement'). Dora thought this was odd as the cook disliked cats and had never treated this one kindly: 'it seemed her sense of justice to which the creature appealed'. The kittens were rescued, with the help of a ladder.
Learn more about Darwin and Women at the Cambridge University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: Darwin and Women.

--Marshal Zeringue