The Origins of Cyberspace collection described as lots 1-255 will first be offered as a single lot, subject to a reserve price. If this price is not reached, the collection will be immediately offered as individual lots as described in the catalogue as lots 1-255.
CHAMBERS, Robert (1802-1871). Vestiges of the natural history of creation. London: John Churchill, 1844.

Details
CHAMBERS, Robert (1802-1871). Vestiges of the natural history of creation. London: John Churchill, 1844.

8o. Original red cloth, spine repaired. Provenance: "Dan'l Gaskell 1844" inscribed on the title; notes in his hand on the last page and on the rear free endpaper.

FIRST EDITION OF MOST PROBABLY THE FIRST DISCUSSION OF COMPUTING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF BIOLOGY. Since virtually no one in Babbage's time was accustomed to thinking in terms of a programmed series of mathematical operations like Babbage discussed in his Ninth Bridgewater Treatise it is likely that most Victorian readers would have had no understanding about what Babbage was writing about in this context. However, Babbage's ideas about natural laws resembling "programs" received a great deal of attention when Robert Chambers, a Scottish publisher and author, issued his Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation in 1844. Chambers's work was the first in English to contain a full-length exposition of an evolutionary theory of biology; it was the most sensational book on its subject to appear prior to Darwin's On the Origin of Species. The thirteenth chapter of Vestiges, entitled "Hypothesis of the development of the vegetable and animal kingdoms," is devoted to the question of how the earth's most complex organisms could have evolved from its simplest, given the observed fact that "like begets like." On pages 206-211 of the 1844 edition, Chambers showed that evolutionary change occurring over long periods of time could be seen as similar to the workings of Babbage's Difference Engine, programmed from the beginning of its operation to produce in sequence several different series of numbers according to a succession of mathematical rules. OOC 55.
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