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April 20, 2001

David Quammen to Give Bradley Lecture on Darwin's Origin of Species

David Quammen, the author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, will speak on Darwin's Origin of Species, Monday, May 7, at 6 p.m. in the Montpelier Room of the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. His book, The Song of the Dodo ( Scribner, 1996), won the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing and several other awards. He is known for his science essays over a period of fifteen years in Outside magazine and in many other magazines. In 1996 he received an Academy Award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his essays and short fiction.

Made possible by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Bradley Lectures are designed to explicate classic texts that have mattered to Western citizenship, statecraft, and public policy. Each lecturer analyzes a text, explains the circumstances of its creation, deals with its ambiguities in treatment and historical understanding, draws out its central theses, and address the degree to which its basic arguments remain essential for us today.

Quammen lives in Montana, and travels frequently on assignment to remote landscapes, with a special bias toward jungles and swamps. His most recent book is The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder (Scribner, 2000). His current work in progress is a book about big predators (especially, crocodiles, lions, tigers and bears), their troubled relations with humans in shared landscapes, and the idea of Leviathan as it occurs in the Book of Job.

Darwin wrote early drafts of what became the Origin, although the first edition, of which the Library has a copy, appeared in 1859. During a series of subsequent editions (six in all), Darwin modified the text. Uammen will discuss these and many other aspects of Darwin's famous text, one of the seminal books of the nineteenth century.

Other books treated earlier in the Bradley series include Plato's Republic; The Federalist Papers; Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America; von Clausewitz On War; and most recently Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.

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PR 01-069
04/20/01
ISSN 0731-3527

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