14 November 2007
DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle ... being the second part of the geology of the voyage. London: Smith, Elder, 1844.
8° (221 x 132mm). Folding engraved frontispiece map of Ascension island. 14 text woodblocks. 24p. publisher's advertisements, dated January 1844, inserted at rear. (Advertisement on verso of first leaf with offsetting from glue of bookplate on recto, G8, H1 with marginal nick.) Original blue cloth, spine with title and price in gilt (spine sunfaded). Provenance: Verney (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION of the second part of the geological results of the Beagle voyage. Darwin began writing it shortly after moving into Down House in September 1842, and felt frustrated by the impossibility of expressing the romance of places such as Galapagos, St. Helena, St. Jago and Ascension in a purely scientific work. As he eventually complained to Lyell, 'it cost me 18 months!!!' and although retailing at only 10/6, compared with 15s for the first part, the poor sales convinced him that geologists did not actually read each other's books (see Desmond and Moore, ch. 21, p. 337). The Galapagos appear in a woodblock illustration on H1v. Freeman 272.
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