This is subtitled ""A Specimen Book of Nineteenth Century Prose"", and whether Agassiz' writings are read as historic literature or scientific curiosity pieces is beside the point. The important thing is that they be preserved as a model of clarity and beauty in prose coupled with intense, exacting scholarship. Agassiz is robably best remembered for his articulate opposition to Darwin. It may come as evelation to the modern reader that there could be such convincing secular arguments against evolution as his ""Essay on Classification"" and ""Evolution and Perman of Type"" contain. This collection will make anyone devoutly wish that specialized writing had not degenerated into jargon; that men of science and literature today were less cut off from each other; that modern scientists would just try, sometimes, to relate their work to the rest of humanity. Agassiz was a friend of Thoreau and Emerson, and their exchanges seem to have done them all good...perhaps the publication of this volume presages a trend. Mr. Davenport's introduction is invaluable to that majority of us today who have ""only heard the name"" of this great zoologist, geologist, and teacher.