Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller

I can honestly say that as much as it’s always fascinated me and as much as I’ve always been interested in the topics of evolution and natural selection and such, I don’t think I ever would’ve read On the Origin of Species if it weren’t for Michael Keller’s new graphic adaptation of it with GORGEOUS illustrations by Nicolle Rager Fuller. And what a loss that would’ve been. The nerd in me really loved this one. Though I totally DON’T think you need to be a nerd to enjoy this one. If you have an appreciation for the way life works and the order of things, I think you’d really enjoy this one.

I’m not going to give a summary of this one, because I think most people know what this one is about. What I will give is a description of how the book is laid out. It starts with sort of a description of how Darwin came to write On the Origin of Species and all of the trials and tribulations he fought both personally and publicly in getting it published. Told in graphic novel format of course. It then goes on to translate the entire text of On the Origin of Species itself into graphic novel form with editors notes added where things have been updated since it’s original publication.

What I loved more than anything about this, is that it really helped me grasp Darwin’s work and understand it. I’ve always been much more of a visual learner. With this text in particular, I can see that I would’ve had a really hard time with it reading the original. To say that “the pictures helped” is an understatement. Not only did the illustrations help my understanding of Darwin’s words, but they’re GORGEOUS to look at. Just absolutely stunning and the layout of the whole novel is just fantastic.

It goes without saying that this is just another example of the power of the graphic novel medium. I’m so glad to see this medium become embraced more and more and to see it expand into different genres like SCIENCE! What a great tool this is for learning!  This is one that I’ll happily keep on my shelves and thumb through over and over again and just admire the beauty of it’s contents, the beauty of the knowledge that Darwin gave us, and the beauty of nature itself.


18 Responses

  1. Really glad you liked it. I picked this book up because I saw you mention it in a previous post, but I’m afraid I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as you did. =p

    But still, as you mentioned, the graphics are really well done. And yes, I can attest to the fact that the actual book is a lot more difficult to digest. =)

  2. I think this looks really interesting and a very accessible version of Darwin’s book. I shall add it to my wishlist!

  3. This went on my TBR list earlier this week. The book just makes all of Darwin’s theories so much easier to understand.

  4. Why does it make me so happy that you loved this? 😀

  5. Okay, I’ve heard you guys talk about this one after another, and this is the final straw – I’ve got to put it on my TBR list. I know I’ll never read the original, not even interested in doing so, though Jason DID buy it recently. But this sounds (and looks – thanks for the example) gorgeous!

  6. Oh, SO PRETTY! I want it, I want it! Actually, one of my friends now is reading a GN adaptation of the Book of Genesis, which would be interesting to read in addition to Origin of the Species. Hmm…

  7. I’d heard of this one, and it’s already firmly on my wishlist (the original does tend to bog down in the middle, and I’d love to see it presented this way), but I didn’t realize it had the ENTIRE text of Origin in it. That’s pretty incredible… how long is it?

  8. What a great idea! I’m going to keep a look out for this

  9. I’m a visual learner too, so the illustrations made everything so much clearer for me 😀 I also loved the fact that they frequently used Darwin’s own words.

  10. I’ve seen this lurking around recently and am very tempted to take a peek. From one nerd to another, thanks!

  11. I saw Nymeth’s review of this too and it looks so pretty! I am actually shockingly stupid about Darwin and evolution – I totally get the natural selection thing but that’s the extent of my understanding of the theory. I really want to read this!

  12. Honestly, I’m with you. I can’t say I’ve ever had any inclination to actually READ The Origin of Species. Science was never one of my favorite subjects. But oh, those pictures are pretty!! I may just have to give this one a try!! Nice review!!

  13. Cool! This looks like one of the most finely crafted classic adaptations I’ve seen. Very much a science-book looking situation. I wish my library had a copy I could snag.

  14. I will probably read this at some point.

  15. Oooooh! That are booful. Meaning, “That is beautiful” in normal people talk.

  16. Little known Beth Fish fact: I have a PhD in physical anthropology and genetics. I know Darwin. I now have a copy of this winging its way to me. Can’t wait. I bet I wish I had this book when I taught at university. My students would have been way more interested in Origin of Species in this form. Can’t wait to read it and review it as both consumer and scientist.

    This is bad blogger point for you.

  17. oh wow, I never thought I’d want to read the Origin of Species but now…this edition is so gorgeous! has to go on the wishlist!

  18. […] Reviews: Page 247, Rebecca Reads, Stuff as Dreams are Made On, Things Mean a Lot Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it […]

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