Nets would have been made by hand, by knotting rope. Mending nets can be a reasonably simple operation or something much larger in scale, as seen below.
Lobster and crab traps are traditionally made from a wooden frame surrounded by rope mesh. The lobster is lured in with bait and then prevented from exiting, as shown in this underwater video of a modern lobster trap in action.
A "wideawake" was a broad-brimmed hat, with the brim turned up at the front on both sides, as seen in this Rembrandt self-portrait.
Founded in 1827, Baedeker was a publishing house which became famous for its guide books. The first English edition (a guide to the area around the Rhine) was published in 1861 and the name Baedeker rapidly became a shorthand in English for any guide book. More on the history of these books can be found at the Baedeker wiki.
The equipment advice in the 1898 Baedeker guide to Egypt begins with precise, nearly exhaustive detail:
"For all ordinary puposes a couple of light tweed suits, a few flannel and soft cotton shirts, a supply of thick woollen socks, one pair of light and easy boots, one of shoes and one of slippers, a moderately warm Ulster or long travelling cloak, a pith-helmet and soft felt hat [...]"
and continues in this vein for a further 21 lines.
George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Anne Evans (1819-1890). One of the great Victorian novelists, Eliot also completed the first English translation of David Strauss' Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet (The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined). This book was highly controversial at the time of its publication due to its rejection of the divinity of Jesus and argument that the gospels should be interpreted as myths.
Fowles' quotation comes from a conversation between Eliot and F. W. H. Myers in 1873, which he recalled thus:
"Taking as her text the three words which have been used so often as the inspiring trumpet-calls of men--the words of God, Immorality, and Duty,--[she] pronounced, with terrible earnestness, how inconceivable was the first, how unbelievable the second, and yet how peremptory and absolute the third."
Homer is the ancient Greek epic poet who is believed to have written the Odyssey and the Iliad. He has been lauded as one of the world's greatest writers for millenia but his biography is shrouded in mystery and scholars debate whether a single man wrote the work attributed to him and whether he existed at all.
The Voyage of the Beagle is the name widely given to the book of travel notes and scientific observations gathered by Charles Darwin during his five year expedition aboard the eponymous ship. A map of this voyage can be found here. It was published in 1839 as Journal and Remarks. Although Darwin was to become best known for his study of evolution, the content of this book spans biology, anthropology and geology.
There was by the Victorian period a long tradition of scientific generalists joining expeditions whose main purpose was mapping or discovering new imperial territories. Another famous instance is Joseph Banks, whose part in an 18th century expeditionary survey around the Pacific and South America is recounted in The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes.
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was a Swedish scientist who is considered the father of modern taxonomy. His major work was the Systema Naturae, which divided the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms into the structure of classes, orders, genera and species. This system was the scientific standard by the end of the 18th century and is the foundation for modern systems of taxonomy. Linnaeus did not, however, move beyond this taxonomy to theories of evolution: his views on the origin of species can be gathered from his repeated maxim "Deus creavit, Linnaeus disposuit" (God created, Linnaeus organised).
The Scala Natura is a conception of the ordering of all living creatures on a hierarchical scale from the most basic and base natural elements at the bottom to God at the very top. The origin of this idea is often attributed to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of the 4th century BCE.
For many Victorians, the idea of the "general extinction" of whole species was one of the most frightening aspects of the theory of evolution. In his poem "In Memoriam" (used frequently in this novel for chapter epigraphs), Tennyson observes that "so careful of the type she [nature] seems, so careless of the single life". Later in the poem he corrects himself:
"'So careful of the type?' but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, `A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go."
Mary Martha Sherwood wrote many short didactic books and stories which aimed to provide children with a moral education. To modern standards the content is often dark and macabre, focusing on the tragic or horrific ends of characters who stray from Sherwood's idea of moral behaviour.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was a German playwright and theatre director who was instrumental in the development of a dramatic movement called Epic Theatre. One aspect of this is Verfremdungseffekt (distancing or alienating effect), which involves devices such as actors directly addressing the audience and is intended to prevent the audience immersing themselves in the illusion that the play is in any way 'real'.
The last words spoken by Jesus on the cross before his death: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Sea anemones are very sensitive to being touched:
Blue Vinney is a Dorset blue cheese. Maggots are sometimes intentionally used in the production of blue cheese as flavour enhancers.
This video of the Undercliff today shows some examples of the lush vegetation and the ruined buildings mentioned by Fowles.
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance. His Primavera, below, is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance art.
Pierre Ronsard (1524-1585) was a writer called "the prince of poets" by his contemporaries. His poems feature rich natural imagery and are frequently love poems addressed to women. Examples of his verse can be found here.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a Genevois philosopher who is credited with developing the highly-influential concept of the "noble savage" - the idea that humankind is innately good and moral outside of the malign influence of civilisation.