On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

“Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends": First Edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

DARWIN, Charles.

$400,000.00

Item Number: 116380

London: John Murray, 1859.

First edition of “certainly the most important biological book ever written” (Freeman), one of 1250 copies. Octavo, bound in original cloth, half-title, one folding lithographed diagram, without advertisements. In fine condition with a touch of shelfwear. Housed in a custom clamshell box. An exceptional example of this landmark work, one of the nicest extant.

Darwin “revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken” (PMM 344). “Without question a watershed work in the history of modern life sciences, Darwin’s Origin elaborated a proposition that species slowly evolve from common ancestors through the mechanism of natural selection. As he himself expected, Darwin’s theory became, and continues to be in some circles, the object of intense controversy” (American Philosophical Society). “The five years [of Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle] were the most important event in Darwin’s intellectual life and in the history of biological science. Darwin sailed with no formal training. He returned a hard-headed man of science… The experiences of his five years in the Beagle, how he dealt with them, and what they led to, built up into a process of epoch-making importance in the history of thought” (PMM).

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