While on the voyage of the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin lived and worked in a cabin that housed the ship’s library. This consisted of 404 volumes that spanned works by naturalists and explorers of the time.
To show the range of books studied by the naturalist, a virtual recreation of the library has been undertaken. The digital library
gives readers a glimpse of the biologist’s life at sea and the types of animals and plants that he was interested in.
The reconstruction, according to Nature News
, was led by science historian John van Wyhe of the National University of Singapore. The digital projects consists of 195,000 pages of text and 5,000 illustrations. Although many of these books are already widely used by researchers, The Guardian
notes that the digitization makes the collection more accessible to general readers.
Although most of the tomes are non-fiction, a few works of fiction are present. These include Milton’s Paradise Lost
, and a Spanish novel that Darwin is known to have read on the voyage.