ABOUT THIS BOOK
Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892), comparative anatomist, colleague and later antagonist of Darwin, and head of the British Museum (Natural History), was a major figure in Victorian science, and one of the least well known. Historians of science have found Owen a difficult subject, partly because he seldom wrote at length about his theories of the nature of life. However, his contemporaries—Darwin, Lyell, Grant, Huxley, and others—certainly knew his ideas and agreed or argued with him while developing their own views.
Now, for the first time, modern readers may consult the single sustained exposition of his views that Owen ever provided: his Hunterian Lectures. Phillip Reid Sloan has transcribed and edited the seven surviving lectures and has written an introduction and commentary that situate this work in the context of Owen's life and the scientific life of the time. The lectures survey some of the history of comparative anatomy since Aristotle and draw on work by some of Owen's contemporaries. Their chief value, however, lies in Owen's elucidation of his own view on the relationships among various groups of living things.
"Owen is one of the linchpin figures of Victorian science. The publication of these lectures is important, and Sloan is to be commended for a fine transcription."—Adrian Desmond, University College, London