January 12, 2006

Skandar Keynes

A reader points out that the child actor Skand Keynes who plays Edmund in "Narnia" is the great-great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. The "Keynes" in his name comes from the same distinguished family as his great-great uncle John Maynard Keynes, although the economist himself was not the reproductive type.

The English Liberal intellectual families sure intermarried a lot. For example, novelist Aldous and biologist Julian Huxley were not only the grandson's of Darwin's bulldog TH Huxley, but the great nephews of poet Matthew Arnold. Their lesser known half-brother Andrew, was a 1963 Nobel Laureate in physiology. (He married a Wedgwood, just like Darwin and Darwin's father did.)

Also, I also just opened up the golf magazine I get for free and it includes an article entitled "Darwin's Gift." In golf magazines, "Darwin" doesn't refer to Charles Darwin, but to his grandson, the minor genius Bernard Darwin, who remains considered the greatest of all writers on golf. (Bernard's prose style bears comparison to P.G. Wodehouse's.) Little Bernard was raised at his grandfather's house in Down and the charming tyke was the delight of Charles' old age.

It's easy to see where Darwin's half-cousin Francis Galton (they were both grandsons of the polymath Erasmus Darwin) got his theory of "hereditary genius."

A reader adds:

I see that composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, no less, is also in the Darwin-Wedgwood-Keynes family tree:

Ralph Vaughan Williams's maternal grandmother, Caroline Sarah Darwin, was Charles Darwin's older sister, and his maternal grandfather, Josiah Wedgwood III, was the older brother of Darwin's wife Emma. [Charles Darwin married his first cousin.]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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