Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP4454

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Edward Bagnall Poulton
28 May 1912

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Edward Bagnall Poulton Wykeham House, Banbury Road, Oxford on 28 May 1912.

Record created:
19 July 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


On Bergson's ideas and his own.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • envelope (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP4454.4758)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Hope Entomological Library, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Finding number:
ARW 107
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Old Orchard,



May 28th. 1912

My dear Poulton

Thanks for your paper on Darwin & Bergson. I have read nothing of Bergsons, and although he evidently has much in common with my own idea views, yet all vague ideas -- like "an internal development force" -- seem to me of no real value as an explanation of nature.

I claim to have shown the necessity of an ever-present mind [[2]] as the primal cause both of all physical & biological evolution. This mind works by & through the primal forces of nature, -- by means of "natural selection" in the world of Life; and I do not think I could read a book which rejects this method in favour of a vague "law of "sympathy"["]. He might as well reject "gravitation", electrical [[3]] repulsion &c. &c. as explaining the motions of cosmical bodies.

My long attack of "Eczema", & my ever increasing correspondence makes it impossible for me to do anything or leave home.

I think you speak rather too favourably of Fabre. It seems to me that the Peckhams have shown that his observations are [[4]]1 imperfect & his conclusions often completely wrong!

Excuse brevity.

Yours very truly Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. This is actually the verso of the first sheet of the letter.

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