Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest

By Adrian Desmond | Go to book overview

23
The American Dream

'MY HEART DANCED WITHIN me', wrote Fiske at the news. Huxley was 'AI copper bottomed' and set to sail for America in 1876. Nautical language was in the air again. In three decades he had swapped his surgeon's lowly rank for celebrity status. But he never forgot that day when, as a Naval hopeful, he had waved goodbye to his favourite sister, Lizzie. 'It is ... thirty years since I left you at Antwerp, a boy beginning life', he wrote. 'Now I am a grey man looking towards the end of it ... What ghosts we shall seem when we face one another!'

The 'whole nation is electrified', said an American banker. Fiske offered the Huxleys a drive through the 'glorious hill-country' of Massachusetts, where Fall brought 'the nearest approach I know to heaven'. The Huxleys, always interested to know what Heaven was like, accepted. Appleton began planning a press reception, and lectures. President Gilman of the new Johns Hopkins University, discussing Martin as the possible professor of biology, realized a coup and snatched Huxley to inaugurate a guest lecture series. As Huxley's plans firmed up, the 'flying visit' for a family reunion became a royal walkabout. Dickens and the literary greats had all toured, often with typical British hauteur. Even Prince Edward had crossed the Canadian border in 1860, but for some with long memories Huxley's was the eclipsing visit: 'We will make infinitely more of him than we did of the Prince of Wales, & his retinue of Lords & Dukes'. 1

Preparations took place amid the usual turmoil. The 'hurry and worry of life' might increase 'with the square of your distance from youth', but even this formula looked simplistic by 1876, as new whirlwinds rose out of the steady turbulence.

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Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Adrian Desmond *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • The Apostle Paul of the New Teaching xiii
  • Part One - The Devil's Disciple *
  • 1825-1846 Dreaming My Own Dreams *
  • 1 - Philosophy Can Bake No Bread 3
  • 2 - Son of the Scalpel 18
  • 3 - The Surgeon's Mate 36
  • 1846-1850 the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea *
  • 4 - Men-Of-War 53
  • 5 - An Ark of Promise 66
  • 6 - The Eighth Circle of Hell 86
  • 7 - Sepulchral Painted Savages 111
  • 8 - Homesick Heroes 129
  • 1850-1858 Lost in the Wilderness *
  • 9 - The Scientific Sadducee 149
  • 10 - The Season of Despair 172
  • 11 - The Jihad Begins 195
  • 12 - The Nature of the Beast 216
  • 13 - Empires of the Deep Past 231
  • 1858-1865 the New Luther *
  • 14 - The Eve of a New Reformation 251
  • 15 - Buttered Angels & Bellowing Apes 266
  • 16 - Reslaying the Slain 292
  • 17 - Man's Place 312
  • 1865-1870 the Scientific Swell *
  • 18 - Birds, Dinosaurs & Booming Guns 339
  • 19 - Eyeing the Prize 361
  • Part Two - Evolution's High Priest *
  • 1870-1884 Marketing the 'New Nature' *
  • 20 - The Gun in the Liberal Armoury 385
  • 21 - From the City of the Dead to the City of Science 411
  • 22 - Automatons 433
  • 23 - The American Dream 463
  • 24 - A Touch of the Whip 483
  • 25 - A Person of Respectability 495
  • 26 - The Scientific Woolsack 507
  • 1885-1895 the Old Lion *
  • 27 - Polishing off the G.O.M 537
  • 28 - Christ Was No Christian 562
  • 29 - Combating the Cosmos 583
  • 30 - Fighting Unto Death 600
  • Afterword *
  • Abbreviations 645
  • Notes 648
  • Bibliography 751
  • Index 783
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