As you probably know, Richard Dawkins’s life has been so important that it needed two whole volumes to spell out his autobiography. Recently, a puff piece appeared that talked about the upcoming second volume. It sounds a little different this time:
The first instalment of Dawkins’s memoirs had the usual chronological structure for this sort of thing: childhood, education, dawning vocation, first jobs, finishing up with the book, The Selfish Gene, that made his reputation both as a significant evolutionary theorist and as a major contributor to the public understanding of science. Brief Candle takes up the story from around the time that An Appetite for Wonder left off, but it doesn’t aim to have a storyline.
LOL. That’s because there isn’t much a story to tell. Y’see, most scientific biographies cover the various scientific discoveries the scientist has made. But with Dawkins, he has none. He got famous for writing Selfish Gene, so what storyline could he possibly tell afterward? Write about writing The Extended Phenotype? Then write about writing Climbing Mt. Improbable? Write about writing various letters to the editor? Write about producing a TV show?
Since there is no story to tell, what did Dawkins write about?
It’s a loose and multiply digressive collection of reminiscences, anecdotes, addenda, quotes from admirers, and extended quotes from himself.
I’m shocked!! Dawkins would write a book that contains quotes from admirers and extended quotes from himself?