Charles & Emma : The Darwins Leap of Faith by Deborah Heligman

June 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

CEAfter his famous five year voyage of exploration on the H.M.S. Beagle, Charles Darwin began to study the specimens he had brought back to England and started to formulate his theory of natural selection. He also began to ponder his future and whether he would get married or remain single.  When he finally chose his cousin Emma to be his wife, he struggled with an issue that he knew could end their relationship before it even began.

Because Emma was a devout Christian who whose faith was dependent on a literal interpretation of the bible, Charles knew that if he were to share with her his theory that conflicted with her belief, she might reject him.  For awhile, he kept his theory a secret.  But eventually Emma became not only his confidant, but a supportive critic and editor for his writing.  Yet she could never believe that his soul was not in jeopardy for eternity because of his ideas.

Heligman has told the story of one of the greatest scientific achievement within a context of family life in Victorian England that is informative, touching, and inspiring.

John S.

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