Posts From Author: charles darwin

The Sea, Inside & Out

Seeing “the watery part of the world” was, for Melville’s Ishmael, a way of “driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.” One feels it’s probably the same for Philip Hoare. Five years ago, his terrific Leviathan, or The Whale (published in the US as The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea) won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction. He’s followed it up with another maritime adventure, The Sea Inside — published, appropriately, by the Brooklyn-based Melville House. Between times, he co-curated the Moby Dick Big Read, a series of podcasts featuring everyone from Tilda Swinton to Sir David Attenborough and Benedict Cumberbatch to Fiona Shaw, reading the book chapter by chapter. You could say Hoare loves a whale. Which is why it might come as a surprise to fans of Leviathan that it takes so long for any cetaceans to appear in The Sea Inside. (Like Moby-Dick, actually, at the risk of spoilers.) But fear not! Hoare’s latest is just as magical as his last, and in fact this time round I was easily as roused by the other members of his menagerie, in particular the birds. He has a great eye for social detail. Did you know that the eurasian osytercatcher […]
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Firestarters: Adam Gopnik on Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

If, like me, you tend to want to know more than you can possibly read about, a sudden urge to learn about, say, Abraham Lincoln or Charles Darwin can be an occasion for despair. The literature on such seminal figures is vast and expanding, like an Everest that’s getting bigger. Or the universe. In short: intimidating. So to come across a book like Adam Gopnik‘s Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life is a bit like finding that the Himalayan authorities have installed a ski lift just for you. We’re super lucky to have Adam Gopnik joining us for the House of SpeakEasy’s opening gala at City Winery NYC on January 27. A long-time New Yorker contributor and three-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Essays, he has that forensic gift of the great essayist, the uncanny ability to see Aquarius where others see just stars. In Angels and Ages, recognising that his choice of subjects prohibits definitive coverage, he unspools his elegant premise from a single (but fertile) line of inquiry: the debate over what Edwin Stanton said at Lincoln’s deathbed. Stanton was Lincoln’s secretary of war and as close to the president as any man. It was natural that those […]
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