ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES AS A "GREAT BOOK" IN GEOLOGY
How does the Origin measure up using these three criteria, especially as it relates to geology? It surely has contemporary significance, not only in speaking to the history of life but also to the history of the Earth, in whole and in parts. The Origin is also surely inexhaustible. Between its soaring view of life and its catalog of particulars, there is much to (re)discover with every reading. And it is absolutely relevant to the “great ideas”, for the Origin does not so much tell us what the history of the Earth and its life was, as it articulates and perfects the principles, first broached by Lyell, for how those histories can be reconstructed. The power and beauty of this technique never go out of style.