7 June 2006
DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882), assisted by Francis DARWIN (1848-1925). The Power of Movement in Plants. London: John Murray, 1880.
8° (181 x 118mm). 196 woodblocks in text, 32p. advertisements for John Murrray's books at end. Original green cloth, covers with blind frame, gilt spine. Provenance: PRESENTATION COPY TO CAROLINE WEDGWOOD (front blank inscribed 'Caroline Wedgwood from Charles Darwin' in Darwin's hand; dated by Caroline in pencil, 'Dec 15 -- 1880'; printed label, 'From the author', on front pastedown).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, INSCRIBED TO CAROLINE WEDGWOOD IN THE AUTHOR'S HAND. Darwin began writing this book in the summer of 1877. When his cousin and brother-in-law, Jos, died on 11 March 1880, he was still working on it. The inscription to Caroline is dated slightly over a month after it was published on 6 November that year. His longest botanical book at 600 pages, it extended his work on climbing plants, showing that the same mechanism operated for flowering plants in general. 'A tough piece of work,' he commented in his autobiography, '... in accordance with the principle of evolution it was impossible to account for climbing plants having been developed in so many widely different groups unless all kinds of plants possess some slight power of movement of an analagous kind. This I proved to be the case' (Autobiography, ed. F. Darwin, New York, 1958, p. 52). This is the first issue of 1500 copies with 2-line errata, and advertisements dated May 1878, prior to the publication of the book itself. In all three issues the spine title, 'The Movement of Plants', differs from the form on the title-page. FINE COPY. Freeman 1325.
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