Erasmus Darwin(redirected from Darwin, Erasmus)
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|Birthplace||Elston Hall, Elston, Nottinghamshire near Newark-on-Trent|
See biographies by D. King-Hele (1964) and P. Fara (2012).
Born Dec. 12, 1731, in Elton; died Apr. 18, 1802, in Derby. English physician, naturalist, and poet. Grandfather of C. Darwin.
In Zoonomia (1794–96), Darwin developed a theory in natural philosophy concerning the evolution of organisms. According to Darwin, embryos originate in the form of very thin fibrils that separate from the nerve endings in the body of the father and enter the ovum during fertilization. This process is the same for all animals, which, Darwin suggested, originated from the mixture of several “natural orders”; under the influence of the external environment, the use and nonuse of organs, and other causes, animals develop and change. In the narrative poems entitled The Botanic Garden (1789–92) and The Temple of Nature (1803; Russian translation, 1911) Darwin set forth his views of natural science in poetical form; philosophically, he was a deist.
REFERENCESKrause, E. Erasmus Darwin und seine Stellung in der Geschichte der Descendenz-Theorie mit seinem Lebens- und Charakterbilde von Ch. Darwin. Leipzig, 1880.
Darwin, C. “Zhizn’ Erazma Darvina.” Soch.. vol. 9. Moscow, 1959. Pages 250–306.