Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Olivia Judson Reviews A New Film On Charles Darwin

Olivia Judson in the New York Times has a nice essay on a new film on the life of Charles Darwin:

Unlike most biographies of Darwin, its central event is not the publication of the “Origin,” but the death of Darwin’s adored eldest daughter, Annie, at the age of 10......

.....“Creation” thus takes on two main themes. The first is the difference in religious outlook between Darwin and his wife — and, more broadly, between Darwin and much of Victorian society. This is inevitable in any account of Darwin’s life. The second, and more unusual, theme is the mental hell of guilt and anguish that the death of a loved one can bring, and how that can fracture a family.

It's always refreshing to come across works that get past being hagiographies of a venerable historical figure and which bring out the human instead.

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