Even though the number of comments disagreeing with my post about reviewers passing judgement on the reader’s capacity (“Insult to Human Intelligence”) was, by far, in the minority, a couple of people did request to see the offending review in its entirety. So, in the interest of transparency, here it is:
Now, initially, I had chosen not to post the review because the rest of it was blandly matter-of-fact, and did not seem to relate to the terminating sentence. Looking at it again, I now see that the penultimate sentence, which loosely attempts to establish the grounds for the insulting judgement, is equally misguided and misguiding, and clearly indicates how inaccurate the reviewer was in their assessment of Darwin in Scotland.
There is a comprehensive account of the time Charles Darwin spent at Edinburgh, in the surrounds and elsewhere in Scotland. This starts in Chapter 1 and continues for most of the book, drawing on that time and the influences met there throughout. I cannot understand how that could have been missed, other than by not reading any of it.
And, yes, there are technical passages, and yes, experts in scientific fields are consulted. But, so are individuals from outside biological academia: from medicine, christianity, teaching, philosophy, art, linguists and astronomy.
In fact, here is the complete list of contributors, plus their biographical information:
As well as this broad sweep of professions, in order to facilitate the reader’s progress and understanding, comprehensive material is provided via a glossary, notes and an appendix. Therefore, all that is required to read Darwin in Scotland is willing, from the reader, to engage with the content, and that much is all we can expect from anyone.
Unfortunately, some people, such as the writer of the review above (I think, a senior, female literary editor and fellow author), have a rather narrow concept of literature, a lack of appreciation of diversity, and little confidence or respect for the “general” public, who the hell that may be!
Writer. Darwin, science & more. 4 books: Piospheres, Darwin in Scotland, Serial Killers. Current project is THE DISSENT OF MAN. Born near London, raised near Primrose Hill and in Lincolnshire, and studied at the Universities of Bangor, York and Edinburgh for degrees in Biochemistry, Bioelectronics and Biological Computation, and a PhD in African Ecology. Mainly working in British and African universities, but also in Spain, Brussels, Mongolia and Australia, to date, publication history is mostly in academic journals, on aspects of computational biology, pastoralism and on Charles Darwin and evolution. However, also written for several national newspapers, various governments, several major record labels and independent book publishers. Fiction has appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and poetry is at the Human Genre Project. Lives in Edinburgh, with partner and their two daughters.