Charles Darwin: On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection

(2234 words)
  • Shannon R. Wooden

A biologist, a botanist, one of the most influential thinkers of the modern world, Darwin might well be frustrated to see how his most famous contribution to science exemplified its own “tangled bank” metaphor, with certain variations and mutations thriving, others dying, according to the pressures of their historical, religious, political, literary, and scientific environments. As Stephen Jay Gould claims, “no idea was ever more widely used, or misused” than Darwinian evolution” (Gould 142). To this day, Darwin’s work remains controversial, even threatening, to many members of the lay public; at the same time, its publication is considered not only one of the most important events in evolutionary biology …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Wooden, Shannon R.. "On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 February 2008
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Victorian Scientific Thought and Applications