Syllabus bisc 499 University of Southern California Spring 2009 Darwin and His Discontents: a history of Biological Evolution, 1725-1950

Required texts for the course, in alphabetical order by author

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Required texts for the course, in alphabetical order by author:
There are five books totaling six volumes required for the course. They range from reasonably priced ($30) to just a couple of dollars for used copies, so your total outlay for books will be relatively small. Virtually all of these texts are available online via (for used or new books) or (for new books) as well as through the Bookstore. At least one (Origin of Species) is available in a full facsimile version online as well. If you buy used copies please be sure to order the edition specified if there’s more than one edition available, such as Thomas Kuhn’s book. Some of these are quite substantial, so pace yourself during the week so you can get the readings done.

  • Browne, Janet. Charles Darwin: A Biography. This is a two-volume work and the most substantial biography of Darwin; the first volume is entitled Voyaging (Princeton University Press, 1995, 605 pp.); and the second volume is The Power of Place (Princeton University Press, 2002, 590 pp.).

  • Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition (Harvard Paperbacks (Harvard University Press, 2001). ISBN 0674637526. A facsimile edition of Charles Darwin’s most important work. 502 pp. Please be sure to get the 1859 first edition rather than the 1882 sixth edition, which is often the one sold. This work is ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE: both as a complete transcription at: and as a facsimile at: .

  • Desmond, Adrian and James Moore. Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist (W. W. Norton & Company, paperback edition, 1994). Available used inexpensively through A different take on some key aspects of Darwin, evolution, and Victorian England. 808 pp.

  • Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (3rd ed., University of Chicago Press, 1996). Widely available in hardcover and paperback for cheap, but try to get the third edition. One of the most important works in the history of science, dating from the 1st edition in 1962; we’ll discuss this quite a bit and bring it up to date with a number of supplementary readings on the topic that have followed Kuhn. 210 pp.

  • Mayr, Ernst. The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance (Belknap Press, 1985, 858 pp). Available in the bookstore. Also available used in both paperback and hardback on A key text by a famous scientist (he’s been called “the Charles Darwin of the 20th century”) tracing the history of biological thought up to and past Darwin’s time.

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