Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A book that begs for flashlight reading
Serendipitous with my enjoyment of M. T. Anderson's refereeing of Charles and Emma v. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, I had the best time last week reading the equally Darwinian-themed The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1912. Somehow I had always missed this novel (and its subsequent movie spinoffs), but my ten-year-old self would have loved it. You can tell how much fun Conan Doyle had playing with Darwin's theories; the book busily throws poisonous snakes, ape-people, Indians, and dinosaurs at the bombastic Professor Challenger and his crew, who dip into a dizzy smorgasbord of scientific thought to account for what they are seeing. Cheerfully racist and violent, though, so I can't imagine the book regaining a foothold today.