The Voyage of the Beagle
Charles Darwin's travels around the world as an independent naturalist on "HMS Beagle" between 1831 and 1836 impressed upon him a sense of the natural world's beauty and sublimity which language could barely capture. Words, he said, were inadequate to convey to those who have not visited the inter-tropical regions, the sensation of delight which the mind experiences'. Yet in a travel journal which takes the reader from the coasts and interiors of South America to South Sea Islands, Darwin's descriptive powers are constantly challenged, but never once overcome. In addition, "The Voyage of the Beagle" displays Darwin's powerful, speculative mind at work, posing searching questions about the complex relation between the Earth's structure, animal forms, anthropology and the origins of life itself.