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Rebecca Stott is a professor of English literature and creative writing at the University of East Anglia and an affiliated scholar at the department of the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University. She is the author of several books, including "Darwin and the Barnacle "and the novels "Ghostwalk" and "The Coral Thief." She lives in Cambridge, England.
"Absorbing...Stott's narrative flows easily across continents and centuries...her portraits evoke vividly realized and memorable characters...Stott captures the breathless excitement of an investigation on the cusp of the unknown...[a] lively, original book. "Darwin's Ghosts "unfolds like an enjoyable and informative TV series, each episode devoted to a fascinating character who provides a window into the world of ideas of his time....it [helps] us see the necessity of bold and ambitious thinking. And right here, right now, it has additional value. Stott reminds us that even if evolution is currently fought over more brutally in the United States than elsewhere, this fight has a long and stubborn ancestry, one that is by no means peculiarly American or entirely modern."--"The New York Times Book Review""Stott gives personality to her historical characters, introducing their families, their monetary concerns, their qualms about publishing so-called heretical theories, and the obsessions that kept them up at night. She also brings her settings and secondary characters to life, from the deformed sponge divers Aristotle consulted in ancient Lesbos to the exotic animals in the caliphate's garden that inspired Jahiz in medieval Basra to lost seashells found by Maillet in the deserts outside 18th-century Cairo. Stott's focus on her settings makes her narrative compellingly readable, and it also reminds us that even as animal species are shaped by their environment, so intellectuals are shaped by their societies....Stott's book is a reminder that scientific discoveries do not happen in a vacuum, that they often stem from incorrect or pseudo-scientific inquiries, and that they are constantly changing, mutable concepts as they meander towards something that might eventually be called the truth."--"Christian Science Monitor" "Mesmerizing, colorful, and often moving...richly drawn...This many-threaded story of intellectual development - of different discoveriesy