• Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 40

    DARWIN, Charles (1809-82). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: W. Clowes and Sons for John Murray, 1859.

    Price Realised  

    DARWIN, Charles (1809-82). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: W. Clowes and Sons for John Murray, 1859.
    8o in 12s (198 x 126 mm). Folding lithographed diagram. (Importer's blind stamp on title). Original publisher's blindstamped green cloth, spine gilt-decorated, by Edmonds & Remnants with their ticket at lower corner of rear pastedown (Freeman binding variant a) and with advertisements dated June 1859, no priority established (tiny split to foot of spine); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: W. Bowen (name dated Jan. 1860 on title); pencil notes about Darwin's theories on verso of title.

    FIRST EDITION OF "THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTIFIC WORK OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. Its publication aroused world-wide criticism and controversy, both religious and scientific" (Grolier/Horblit). The whole edition of 1250 copies was sold on the day of publication. Though the work was initially prompted by observations, made during his travels aboard the Beagle from 1831 to 1836, of the biology and geology of isolated islands, Darwin spent nearly 25 years after his return to England accumulating evidence and considering his theory before publishing. "Although the theory of evolution can be traced to the ancient Greek belief in the 'great chain of being', Darwin's greatest achievement was to make this centuries-old 'underground' concept acceptable to the scientific community by cogently arguing for the existence of a viable mechanism - natural selection - by which new species evolve over vast periods of time. Darwin's influence on biology was fundamental and continues to be felt today" (Garrison-Morton). Dibner Heralds of Science 199; Freeman 373; Garrison-Morton 220; Grolier/Horblit 23b; Grolier Medicine 70B; Norman 593; PMM 344b. A VERY FINE, BRIGHT COPY.


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