Description

    "The Most Important Biological Book Ever Written"

    Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray, 1859.

    Second edition, second issue (there are only a few known copies of the first issue with the title page dated 1859), with the 1860 date and "Fifth Thousand" on title page. Corrections have been made to "Speceies" on p. 20, and "Linnean" is spelled correctly on the title page. One of only 3,000 copies printed in the second edition, on January 7th 1860, after the first edition of 1,250 copies was sold on the day of publication, November 24th 1859. The second and subsequent editions also sold out very quickly. Octavo in twelves. ix, [1, "Instructions to Binder"], 502 pages. Bound without the half-title page. Folding lithographed diagram by William West, indicating Darwin's views of possible sequences of evolution, facing p. 117.

    Modern three-quarter green crushed morocco over green cloth, gilt decorative rules to covers, spine in six compartments with five raised bands and decorated and lettered in gilt. Paper slightly browned with light foxing on title and preliminary and terminal leaves, occasional light foxing and marginal soiling to sheets. A few marginal pencil marks. Overall, an excellent copy, in a handsome and appropriate binding.

    One of the most influential scientific works of the nineteenth century, On the Origin of Species was (and still is) one of the most controversial. In it, "Darwin not only drew an entirely new picture of the workings of organic nature; he revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

    Dibner 199 ("the most important single work in science"). Freeman 373 ("the most important biological book ever written"). Garrison and Morton 220. Grolier, 100 English, 96. Grolier/Horblit 23b ("the most influential scientific work of the nineteenth century"). Heirs of Hippocrates 1724. Printing and the Mind of Man 344b [describing the first edition of 1859].


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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