Monday, April 17, 2006

Darwin's Prose

From Ricardo Azevedo, via Patrick Kurp, through Osip Mandelstam to the beauty of Charles Darwin's writing:
“The remarkable prosaic quality of Darwin’s works was preconditioned, to a large extent, by history. Darwin purged the scientific language, eradicating every trace of bombast, rhetoric, and teleological pathos. He possessed the courage to be prosaic precisely because he had so much to say and did not feel obligated to express rapture or gratitude to anyone.”

“Darwin’s attitude toward nature resembles that of a war correspondent, an interviewer, or a daring reporter furtively pursuing a news story at the scene of the event. Darwin never described anything, he only characterized. In this sense Darwin, the writer, incorporated the popular tastes of the English reading public into natural history. We must not forget that Dickens and Darwin were contemporaries and that both were popular with the reading public for the same reason.”

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