Download The Origin Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Social Concerns / Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Origin, the principal character of which is Charles Darwin, is bio-history writing on a grand scale. Darwin, by proving that the only constant force in nature is change, caused theorists to question if the world was created by a single, instantaneous act of God, or by a series of acts each time the creator changed his mind. The drama of The Origin is that Darwin, for years after his world-circling voyage on the Beagle, developed a theory about the origin of species, their development and differentiation through processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest. In time he came to believe that man was included in the ascent through the same kinds of evolutionary processes. The release of this information in "The Evolution of the Species" caused an uproar around the world.

Darwin's overpowering research was made over a period of years and, in The Origin, Stone develops a manner through which he made much of this information available to the public. Utilizing the great minds of the naturalist's time and exploring their effect upon Darwin's ultimate theories, Stone sets out to paint a picture that is more than a portrait of a scientific genius. It is also a panorama of the intellectual landscape of his time.