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Darwin's Illness$
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Ralph Colp Jr.

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032313

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032313.001.0001

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Illness and “Anxious Looking Forward”

Illness and “Anxious Looking Forward”

(p.76) 10 Illness and “Anxious Looking Forward”
Darwin's Illness

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

University Press of Florida

Weeks after returning to Down, as Charles Darwin worked on a new edition of The Origin of Species and felt obligated to answer a “Multitude of Letters” from old and new correspondents about the book, his flatulence accentuated. He began consulting with a new London physician, Frederick William Headland, about his stomach. Etty's illness, along with the demands of scientific work, caused Darwin much distress. During the period of Etty's illness and improvement, Darwin had been able to carry on different kinds of work: intermittently writing parts of the big sequel to Origin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, preparing a third edition of Origin, keeping up a “gigantic” scientific correspondence, and doing botanical work on Drosera and other plants. Several days after moving into a Bournemouth house, Darwin felt “squashier than ever” and began taking “two shower baths a day” in the hope of gaining “a little strength”. His feelings of “anxious looking forward” probably largely centered on fears of future illness in himself and his family.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, flatulence, stomach, distress, family, Drosera

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