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Abstract

Charles Darwin, particularly in his early writings, had a strong appreciation of landscape. He describes scenery that he regarded as attractive and spectacular in his writings from the Beagle period with considerable perception. Through much of his career, he integrated ideas and facts from different sources supremely well; thus understanding that a landscape was a product of the rocks, the processes they had undergone, vegetation, animal life, and human activities. Another component in the development of his appreciation of landscape – or ‘scenery’ as he usually identified it – was his quite strong aesthetic sense which existed from his teenage years through the Beagle voyage. Later, he felt it atrophied. He also, of course, emphasised the notion of gradualism – the idea that entities such as plants, animals, rocks and landforms underwent gradual change over long periods of time. This notion, which he drew from Charles Lyell’s geology, was important in the subsequent development of evolutionary biology and many other branches of science, including landscape analysis.

Author Biography

Patrick Armstrong graduated from Durham University in geography and geology, and has taught ecology at colleges and universities in Britain and Australia for 50 years. He has a special interest in nineteenth century scientific thought, and has published several books on the life, work and influence of Charles Darwin.

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