In a chest of drawers bequeathed by his grandmother, author Randal Keynes found the writing case of Charles Darwin’s beloved daughter Annie, who died at the age of ten. Within the box, among the typical keepsakes of a Victorian girlhood, were the notes Darwin kept throughout Annie’s illness and the eloquent and devastating eulogy he delivered at her funeral. For Keynes, a great-great grandson of Darwin, Annie’s writing case became the point of entry into the story of Darwin’s family life and its influence on the development of his revolutionary understanding of man’s place in nature.
Keynes takes us into the family’s private world and draws on a wealth of previously unseen material to tell the story of Darwin’s home life and his private struggle with his faith. Particularly fascinating is the revealing portrait of Emma, Darwin’s wife-a complex and freethinking woman, in many ways ahead of her time.
As Darwin’s theories continue to shape so much of our thinking about the roots of human nature, Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution reveals the personal experience from which he drew his most deeply held ideas.