Cover image for Thomas Huxley : making the "man of science"
Thomas Huxley : making the "man of science"
White, Paul, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 205 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1750 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH31.H9 W56 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Dubbed 'Darwin's Bulldog' for his combative role in the Victorian controversies over evolutionary theory, Thomas Huxley has been widely regarded as the epitome of the professional scientist who emerged in the nineteenth century from the restrictions of ecclesiastical authority and aristocratic patronage. Yet from the 1850s until his death in 1895, Huxley always defined himself as a 'man of science', a moral and religious figure, not a scientist. Exploring his relationships with his wife, fellow naturalists, clergymen and men of letters, White presents a new analysis of the authority of science, literature, and religion during the Victorian period, showing how these different practices were woven into a fabric of high culture, and integrated into institutions of print, education and research. He provides a substantially different view of Huxley's role in the evolution debates, and of his relations with his scientific contemporaries, especially Richard Owen and Charles Darwin.

Author Notes

Paul White author of 18 books, lives in the UK.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This biography of Thomas Henry Huxley is not intended as "a straightforward" account of Huxley's career but as a refutation of the notion that he was the "epitome" of a professional scientist. Referring to him as a "man of science" rather than a scientist--a word Huxley abhorred--White (Univ. of Cambridge) skillfully incorporates material from primary and secondary sources. However, there is little discussion of Huxley's scientific work, and the expression, "man of science," is invoked too frequently. Other "men of science" are given prominence, particularly, Richard Owen--an opponent of Huxley and Charles Darwin whom the author treats more sympathetically than Huxley--but Huxley's observations in natural history and ethnology made during the voyage are neglected, and there is little about the circumstances that led him to become a doctor and then assistant surgeon and naturalist on HMS Rattlesnake. White portrays the ship's captain, Owen Stanley, as "disrespectful of learning" and of Huxley's research, ignoring the role Stanley had in assisting Huxley publish his early papers while serving on board, despite the friction that existed between them. This is a well-researched work, but its generalizations and inattention to Huxley's scientific contributions limit its appeal. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Graduate students; faculty. J. S. Schwartz CUNY College of Staten Island

Table of Contents

1 Science at home
2 Gentlemen of Science? Debates over manners and institutions
3 Science as culture
4 The worship of science
5 'Darkest England': Science and labor in the 1880s and 1890s
Conclusion: the end of the 'man of science'