Henry H. Cheek and transformism: new light on Charles Darwin's Edinburgh background

William Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Evidence for the transformist ideas espoused by Henry H. Cheek (1807–33), a contemporary of Charles Darwin's at the University of Edinburgh, sheds new light on the intellectual environment of Edinburgh in the late 1820s and early 1830s. Cheek was the author of several papers dealing with the transmutation of species influenced by the theories of Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844), Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) and the Comte de Buffon (1707–88). Some of these were read to student societies, others appeared in the Edinburgh Journal of Natural and Geographical Science, which Cheek edited between 1829 and 1831. His writings give us a valuable window onto some of the transformist theories that were circulating among Darwin's fellow medical students in the late 1820s, to which Darwin would have been exposed during his time in Edinburgh, and for which little other concrete evidence survives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNotes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Early online date10 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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