Galápagos, the Enchanted Isles

Named for the giant tortoises native to these remote islands, the Galápagos are perhaps best known for the endemic speciation that has occurred there. They inspired Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking scientific theory of evolution explained in his 1859 book, On the Origin of Species.

Even before the publication of Darwin's book, this archipelago of volcanic islands captured the imaginations of adventurers around the world including Herman Melville who wrote the novella, The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles. Received with much critical acclaim, the sketches or short stories in his book were inspired by his visit to the Galápagos as a young sailor: “Little but reptile life is here found: tortoises, lizards, immense spiders, snakes, and that strangest anomaly of outlandish nature, the iguana. No voice, no low, no howl is heard–the chief sound of life here is a hiss.”

It is this very other-worldly array of fauna and flora and mysterious remoteness that draws our imaginations to these islands. If you have been to the Islands, or just always wanted to go, please join us on Friday, September 6, 2019 at 10:30 am for an illustrated talk with nature photographer Judy Kramer about her trip to the Galápagos. To read more about the Galápagos and works inspired by these enchanting islands, check out these books:​

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

This is an illustrated republishing of the first edition of Darwin's Book. It is edited by David Quammen. 


Galápagos: Islands Born of Fire by Tui De Roy

This book offers a photographic tour of the Galapagos. It explores the diversity of wildlife and habitats that rank these islands among the most fascinating and beautiful places in the world.


Galápagos: Preserving Darwin's Legacy, edited by Tui De Roy

The book consists of a series of invited essays under the editorship of photographer and long-term Galapagos resident, Tui de Roy, who has also provided most of the photographs.


Galápagos: A Traveler's Introduction by Wayne Lynch

In this richly illustrated tour of the Galápagos, world renowned photographer and naturalist Wayne Lynch captures the unique wildlife living here, including the Galápagos tortoise, the marine iguana, the flightless cormorant, the blue-footed boobie and the magnificent frigate bird.

.galapagosMelville.jpg The Complete Shorter Fiction
by Herman Melville

This volume is a collection of poems, short stories and novellas by Melville. It includes the chapter, The Encantadas, or Enchanted isles.


Galápagos: A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut
. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America's master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry-and all that is worth saving.-- Publisher.


Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Nowhere else on the Earth are the twin processes of creation and extinction of species so starkly apparent as in the Galápagos. This stunning documentary is filmed entirely in high definition from the BBC and the National Geographic Channel. - BBC

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