The Annotated Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

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By Alfred Russel Wallace, Edited by John van Wyhe

Wallace’s Malay Archipelago is a classic account of the travels of a Victorian naturalist through island Southeast Asia. It has been loved by readers ever since its publication in 1869. Despite numerous modern reprints with appreciative introductions, this is the first—and long overdue—annotated edition in English.

This edition explains, updates and corrects the original text with an historical introduction, and hundreds of explanatory notes. Wallace left hundreds of people, places, publications and species unidentified. He referred to most species only with the scientific name current at the time. Whenever available, the common names for species have been provided, and scientific names updated. The content of the book has never been thoroughly analysed and compared against other contemporary sources. It turns out that the book contains many errors. This includes not just incorrect dates and place names but some of the most remarkable anecdotes; for example, the dramatic claim that tigers “kill on an average a Chinaman every day” in Singapore or that a Dutch Governor General committed suicide by leaping from a waterfall on Celebes.

By correcting the text of the Malay Archipelago against Wallace’s letters and notebooks and other contemporary sources and by enriching it with modern identifications, this edition reveals Wallace’s work as never before.

"...van Wyhe's annotated edition offers both interesting material for the general reader and a valuable research aid that will serve Wallace scholars for decades to come." - Will Abberley

“The book is beautifully produced with a mid-section of color drawings that depict animals, birds, insects and flowers. Dotted through the chapters are new charcoal sketches of exotic birds, animals, indigenous people and significant places. As well as an updated itinerary and wonderful maps that brings Wallace’s epic journey even more to life, the original illustrations are also included.” - Stephen Joyce
"... a compelling volume for naturalists and historians of science...Highly recommended"
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries


John Van Wyhe is a historian of science and one of the world's leading experts on Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences and a Fellow of Tembusu College, National University of Singapore. This is his tenth book.

Publication Year: 2014
836 pages, 229mm x 152mm
51 color illustrations and 67 black-and-white illustrations
ISBN: 978-9971-69-820-1

NUS Press