Mark Ridley | Granta

Mark Ridley

Mark Ridley works in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University. He previously held posts at Emory University, Atlanta, and at Cambridge University. His books include the standard college text Evolution, and Mendel’s Demon. He has also edited A Darwin Selection.


How To Read Darwin

Mark Ridley

‘There is grandeur in thsi view of life’ Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin’s permanent legacy are his broad, abstract theories of evolution and natural selection, theories which he tested against an astonishing array of natural-history evidence in his writing. Mark Ridley uses a question-and-answer approach to explain how Darwin carefully tackled problems, and shows how the reader can understand Darwin’s arguments by first working out what question Darwin had implicitly set himself to answer. Mark Ridley concentrates on extracts from Darwin’s two most important books, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, and also introduces us to Darwin’s lesser-known works, on topics as diverse as animal domestication and earthworms, and his writing on the human condition.