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What Alfred Russel Wallace Really Thought About Darwin 79

Calopteryx writes "The correspondence of Alfred Russel Wallace has gone online for the first time. New Scientist has opened a wormhole between the 21st and 19th centuries and has 'interviewed' the great man."
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What Alfred Russel Wallace Really Thought About Darwin

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  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) * on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:59AM (#42705925) Journal
    Semi-offtopic, but is there any blog software capable of publishing entries with dates prior to 1900? If someone wanted to publish something like a diary with dates marked accurately in a blog format, can that be done? It seems that this would be an interesting medium, at least in concept, to present items of historical relevance.
  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @04:06AM (#42706103)

    Been a while since I read an essay on "Origin", but as I recall Darwin was sitting on his works for quite a while. It was only after he learned that someone else was working on what he'd already accomplished that he decided to publish. Much like the way Newton had to be goaded into publishing the Principia.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @05:09AM (#42706241) Journal

    It's not that Darwin was lazy, it was that the religious environment was such that one risked being fired for ticking off the religious establishments. It wasn't quite as bad as Galileo, but the same kind of forces.

    Thus, he wanted the publication to be as water-tight as possible before releasing it; and that's one of the reasons why the work, for the most part, stands the test of time.

  • by aNonnyMouseCowered ( 2693969 ) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:25AM (#42706603)

    The metadata for some random entry I clicked on reads like:

    LETTER (WCP1.1)

    A typical letter handwritten by author in English.

    Held by: Natural History Museum
    Finding number: NHM WP1/1/1
    Copyright owner: Copyright of the A. R. Wallace Literary Estate
    Record scrutiny: 01/12/2011 - Catchpole, Caroline;

    I'm curious about the copyright field. Aren't the letters supposed to be public domain? Since Wallaced died in 1913, which is well past the 50-75 years after death clause of most countries' copyright regimes, shouldn't the copyright on the letters have lapsed already?

    IANAL but I'm assuming that the letters have already been "published" by virtue of their having been snail-mailed and read by a second party. It's not as if they're some long-lost manuscript that's been hidden in some author's dusty drawer, which can arguably be considered as unpublished.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake