Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley — Volume 2
Thomas Henry Huxley
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This is is biographical book. With the year 1870 comes another turning-point in Huxley’s career. From his return to England in 1850 till 1854 he had endured four years of hard struggle, of hope deferred; his reputation as a zoologist had been established before his arrival, and was more than confirmed by his personal energy and power. When at length settled in the professorship at Jermyn Street, he was so far from thinking himself more than a beginner who had learned to work in one corner of the field of knowledge, still needing deep research into all kindred subjects in order to know the true bearings of his own little portion, that he treated the next six years simply as years of further apprenticeship. Under the suggestive power of the 'Origin of Species' all these scattered studies fell suddenly into due rank and order; the philosophic unity he had so long been seeking inspired his thought with tenfold vigour, and the battle at Oxford in defence of the new hypothesis first brought him before the public eye as one who not only had the courage of his convictions when attacked, but could, and more, would, carry the war effectively into the enemy’s country. And for the next ten years he was commonly identified with the championship of the most unpopular view of the time; a fighter, an assailant of long-established fallacies, he was too often considered a mere iconoclast, a subverter of every other well-rooted institution, theological, educational, or moral.