FILE - In a Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007...

"On the Evidence favourable and opposed to the view that Species are naturally formed races descended from common Stocks." The first part contains the main argument of the 'Origin of Species.' It is founded, as is the argument of that work, on the study of domestic animals, and both the Sketch and the 'Origin' open with a chapter on variation under domestication and on artificial selection.

Some hard tennis balls I have hither brought

Of marble and iron made full round.

I swear, by Jesu that me dear bought,

It is also why so many great photographs concern loneliness. The lens may distance the photographer from the rest of humanity, but with that distance comes an enhanced ability to see what is overlooked and underloved, whether it is the piebald of shadows decorating the side of a house, or the greased-glass door of a motel (the melancholy iconography of the American road—the motels, the slumping wooden houses, the elm half-choked to death by kudzu, the sun-cracked stucco building—is to modern photography what a wheel of cheese and a tumble of grapes were to Renaissance painting), or, most powerfully, the lone human being.

They shall beat the walls to the ground.

But as correct as I think Laing is (on both points), I would venture to be even more specific and say that if love belongs to the poet, and fear to the novelist, then loneliness belongs to the photographer. To be a photographer is to willingly enter the world of the lonely, because it is an artistic exercise in invisibility. In the course of its relatively brief history, photography (and, by extension, those who take photographs) has been accused repeatedly of constituting an act of predation, as if the street is a savannah and the person with a camera a large cat, silent and hungry, ready to sprint after its next meal. In reality, though, the person with the camera is not hiding but receding. She is willfully removing herself from the slipstream of life; she is making herself into a constant witness, someone who lives to see the lives of others, not to be seen herself. Writing is often assumed to be the loneliest profession, but solitude should not be confused for loneliness: one is a condition we choose, the other is a condition that is forced upon us. A writer creates a world, and she is the ruler of it; the photographer moves through the world, our world, hoping for anonymity, hoping she is able to humble herself enough to see and record what the rest of us—in our noisy perambulations, in our requests to be heard—are too present to our own selves to ever see. To practice this art requires first a commitment to self-erasure.

How he comes o’er us with our wilder days

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The success of the 'Origin' may, I think, be attributed in large part to my having long before written two condensed sketches, and to my having finally abstracted a much larger manuscript, which was itself an abstract.

The 'Origin' provided us with the working hypothesis we sought.

Many separate essays and books on the subject have appeared; and in Germany a catalogue or bibliography on "Darwinismus" has appeared every year or two.

Biography, poems, and audio—oh my!

Meet Mr. Stevens… in 1954. No time machine necessary.

Even though he went to the trouble of gathering his thoughts so as to prepare a manuscript overview of his theorising, Darwin actually preferred to keep his potentially most controversial ideas a private matter because of his reluctance to meet an expected adverse reaction from family, friends, and the wider public by airing controversial views.

The ever awesome James Merrill reads "The Snow Man" in this old school video.

Great book, but it's not for the cheap of heart.

'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent.

A nice, slow reading of the poem that emphasizes the tone. It's borderline eerie, Shmoopers.

For those of you who just can't get enough.

Some idea of what this term means can perhaps be gained from reading the excerpt from an introduction, written in 1944 by Aldous Huxley, to an English translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, a principal Vedic (or Hindu) holy book, that had been co-authored by one of his friends.