Article ID: CBB120840296

The impact of A. R. Wallace's Sarawak Law paper reassessed (2016)


This article examines six main elements in the modern story of the impact of Alfred Russel Wallace's 1855 Sarawak Law paper, particularly in the many accounts of Charles Darwin's life and work. These elements are:1It was Wallace's first avowal of evolution.2Wallace laid out the theory of evolution minus only a “mechanism”.3Darwin failed to see how close Wallace was approaching.4Lyell did see how close Wallace was approaching.5Lyell urged Darwin to publish because of Wallace.6Darwin wrote to Wallace to warn him off his patch. Each of these are very frequently repeated as straightforward facts in the popular and scholarly literature. It is here argued that each of these is erroneous and that the role of the Sarawak Law paper in the historiography of Darwin and Wallace needs to be revised.

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Authors & Contributors
England, Richard K.
Maienschein, Jane A.
Creath, Richard
Hull, David L.
Beddall, Barbara G.
Horne, P. R.
Journal of the History of Biology
Modern Language Review
The Linnean: Newsletter and Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Victorian Studies
Cambridge University Press
Linnean Society of London
Siri Scientific Press
World Scientific
Natural selection
Discovery in science
Travel; exploration
Darwin, Charles Robert
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Lyell, Charles
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Hooker, Joseph Dalton
Boyd, Thomas
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
Great Britain
British Isles
South America
Malay; Malaysia
Southeast Asia

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