Books in the Wild
About This Show
Books in the Wild is a podcast investigating the hidden stories behind books and printed matter. Instead of reviewing books for solely on their written content, we try to offer varying perspectives on everything from conception to creation to reception. This is a podcast about book arts: letterpress printing, bookbinding, artists' books, small press and independent publishing, and stories from book history.
Most Recent Episode
Episode 5: The Sleeper Hoax Booklet
For his 90th birthday in February 1913, renowned British naturalist and evolutionary biologist Alfred Russel Wallace received a mysterious package containing a small booklet called Shall We Have Common Sense. This booklet, dated 1849, contained essays on evolution through natural selection and germ theory. If this booklet is authentic, it precedes Darwin and Wallace’s publications on evolution by a decade, and Louis Pasteur’s writings on germ theory by nearly two decades.
Is it a genuine remarkable discovery? Is it an elaborate and confusing hoax? Join in on the investigation as we explore some intriguing characters like the eccentric atheist George Washington Sleeper, British naturalists Alfred Russel Wallace and Edward B. Poulton, and a mysterious little booklet that could change the history of evolutionary theory.