Darwin's First Published Book

    Charles Darwin [and others]. Robert Fitzroy [editor]. Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. In three [i.e. four] volumes. London: Henry Colburn, 1839.

    First edition, with Volume III comprising the first edition, first issue of Darwin's first published book. Four octavo volumes, including appendix to Volume II. xxviii, [4], 597, [3, blank]; xiv, [2], 694, [1], [1, blank]; viii, 352; xiv, 608, [609]-629 (addenda), [609]-615 (index), [1, blank] pages. Volume I with seventeen plates, including frontispiece and one folding, and two folding maps bound at rear. Volume II with twenty-five plates and maps, including frontispiece, and two folding maps bound at rear. Appendix to Volume II with six charts and diagrams and two folding maps bound at rear. Volume III with two folding maps bound at front and two more bound at the rear, plus four woodcuts in the text. All half-titles called for present. Bound without publisher's ads at end of Appendix.

    Contemporary half red morocco over marbled boards, spines with gilt and blind tooled bands and gilt lettering, green-gray endpaper, top edges gilt. Gilt leather bookplate affixed to front pastedowns; small Japanese ownership stamp in orange ink to front free endpapers. Very subtle paper and adhesive remnants of a paper bookplate on front free endpapers. Minor old dampstain to lower blank margin of last volume. Frontispiece of first volume with outer margin a bit trimmed. Overall an excellent set, very bright and fresh, of this monumental work.

    One of the most famous nineteenth-century accounts of voyages of exploration, "[Darwin's] first published book is undoubtedly [his] most often read and stands second only to On the origin of species as the most often printed. It is an important travel book in its own right and its relation to the background of his evolutionary ideas has often been stressed. ...The first issue forms, as is well known, the third volume of The narrative of the voyages of H.M. Ships Adventure and Beagle, edited by Captain Robert Fitzroy and published, in three volumes and an appendix to Volume II, in 1839. In this form, it bears the subsidiary title Journal and remarks. Since then it has changed its name four times, so that today it is universally referred to as The voyage of the Beagle" (Freeman, Darwin, pp. 31-32).

    Freeman, Darwin, 10.

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