Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-33) profoundly influenced Darwin as he voyaged on the Beagle and developed the theory of natural selection. A hugely ambitious attempt to forge links between observable causes - volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers, tides and storms - and the current state of the earth, the Principles proved crucial in the long-running dispute between science and Scripture. Its clarity, broad sweep, sheer intellectual passion and panache caught the imagination of Melville, Emerson, Tennyson and George Eliot as well as thousands of other readers all over the world. This abridged edition consists largely of complete chapters (with all their illustrations) on topics which have attracted the most discussion and debate, including Lyell's core theoretical principles, seminal analyses of evolution and ecological issues, and novel techniques for reconstructing the past. It thus makes freshly available one of the master works of the nineteenth century.
One of the key works in the nineteenth-century battle between science and Scripture
Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-33) sought to explain the geological state of the modern Earth by considering the long-term effects of observable natural phenomena. Written with clarity and a dazzling intellectual passion, it is both a seminal work of modern geology and a compelling precursor to Darwinism, exploring the evidence for radical changes in climate and geography across the ages and speculating on the progressive development of life. A profound influence on Darwin, Principles of Geology also captured the imagination of contemporaries such as Melville, Emerson, Tennyson and George Eliot, transforming science with its depiction of the powerful forces that shape the natural world.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was a British geologist most famous for his great geological opus: The Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface, by Reference to Causes now in Operation (3 vols 1830-33).
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