Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Desmond on Huxley

Since I have a little while before my copy of the new Alan Furst book arrives, and I felt the need for something uplifting, I’m re-reading Adrian Desmond’s biography of T. H. Huxley. Desmond a brilliant writer, one of the best biographers I’ve ever read.

And he really likes Huxley. His Darwin biography showed a lot of respect for Darwin’s work, but I get the sense that he respects Huxley more as a person. Darwin’s upper-class background, and his ability to retreat to Down and have others represent evolution in public, contrast sharply with Huxley’s impoverished origins and the enormous energy he had to spend remaking himself.

That’s the other reason I’m reading Huxley again: you could hardly ask for a better model for a writer and thinker.

1 Comment

  1. Hey Alex, I’m just getting “into” Huxley again myself. A recent post at the American Enterprise Institute website says that Huxley’s exchange with Wilberforce “never happened.” That’s not right, thought the story has certainly been used polemically by Darwinists, including by Huxley himself, of course. I’ll be reading Desmond on Huxley soon.

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