Image © Wallace Memorial Fund

A “Central and Controlling Incident”: Celebrating The Malay Archipelago and the Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace

2019 is the 150th anniversary of Alfred Russel Wallace’s landmark travel memoir The Malay Archipelago, chronicling his eight years of exploration in southeast Asia — the watershed experience that he later famously called “the central and controlling incident of my life”. Marking this anniversary is An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion (Chicago), offering new insights into Wallace’s life and thought. Wallace may be most famous as co-discoverer of the principle of natural selection and founder of the field of evolutionary biogeography — two great achievements connected with his epic journey — but the depth and breadth of his later contributions are equally impressive.

This day meeting celebrates the legacy of Wallace’s “central and controlling incident” through the lens of the Wallace Companion, with talks by the book’s contributors and other scholars, exploring Wallace’s interests scientific and social and what they mean for us today.

Speakers include: Dr Andrew Berry FLS, Dr David Collard, Prof James T. Costa FLS, Ms Eleanor Drinkwater, Prof Martin Fichman, Prof Dr Matthias Glaubrecht, Dr Richard Milner FLS, and Prof Robert Smith, with a keynote address by National Geographic photographer Clay Bolt co-sponsored by the Charles Darwin Trust.

More information on our events can be found here: