DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life . London: John Murray, 1859.
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DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life . London: John Murray, 1859. 8° in 12s, folding lithographic diagram by W. West, 32p. list of John Murray's works inserted at end, dated June 1859. (Diagram with 30mm. tear at lower blank margin, spotting chiefly affecting half-title, title and text up to D1, outer margin of H11v and H12r with slight soil mark, block split at M1, U7-8 with minor staining at upper margin.) Original green diapered cloth with Edmonds and Remnants label, covers with blind-stamped panel design, spine gilt lettered and decorated with two triangles (spine slightly frayed at head and foot, and with 13mm. tear along upper joint, inner hinges cracked). Provenance : PRESENTATION COPY [TO CAROLINE AND JOSIAH WEDGWOOD] (verso of front free endpaper inscribed 'From the author' in the hand of Murray's clerk; and further inscribed above 'J. Wedgwood Leith Hill'; manuscript amendments in pencil on pp. 287, 459 and 481 appear to be in Caroline's hand, the last is also the subject of a pencil note on rear free endpaper; two page numbers are pencilled on the title-page; and there is a further list of eleven page numbers on verso of the final advertisement leaf, some of which have a question-mark against them or correspond to a scored passage in the text). FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY TO DARWIN'S SISTER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW, WITH A SUGGESTED AMENDMENT ACTED UPON IN THE SECOND EDITION. The book which destroyed the anthropocentric concept of the universe and 'caused a greater upheaval in man's thinking than any other scientific advance since the rebirth of science in the Renaissance' (Ernst Mayr, quoted by Bernard Cohen, Revolution in Science , 1985, p. 283) was not only long in gestation but subject to careful revision over the first six editions. Darwin's correspondence with John Murray shows that he was at first thinking of distributing between 100 and 120 copies of the first edition (letter to John Murray, 31 March ). Adjustments to this quantity were made several times before its official publication on 24 November 1859, and Murray's own accounts indicate that eventually 12 copies were allowed to Darwin while another 41 were presented in advance of publication or sent out as review copies. The Correpondence of Charles Darwin , vol. VII, identifies 29 known recipients, compiled solely on the basis of published letters (to which T.V. Wollaston can now certainly be added), and 16 probable recipients. Of those on the two lists, only three are relatives, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, and Hensleigh Wedgwood, brother of Jos and Emma. Darwin was clearly delighted by his sister's critical response to the book. He wrote to her from Ilkley, [after 21 November 1859], saying: 'I am astounded that you care as much for my Book as you seem to do. Your doubts and queries are perfectly correct. Lyell was bothered on same point and I have not expressed myself clearly [according to n.2 in the Correspondence , Lyell and CD had been corresponding about the descent of domesticated species]. By my theory, all dogs, wolves, jackalls, &c. have descended from one very ancient species. The passage you allude to refers only to the amount of modification which our domestic dogs have undergone under domestication ....' He refers to an adverse review ('I have been cut up in Athenaeum'), but believes 'I shall convert 4 or 5 really good judges and that will content me ... If 4 or 5 good judges are not converted, then I may be a monomaniac'. In the post-script, he adds: 'If Jos. makes any criticisms I should like to hear them' ( Correspondence VII, pp. 386-87). The probability seems strong that Caroline's pencil notes were made when she first read the book rather than later. The key note concerns the denudation of the Weald on p. 287 of chapter IX ('The Imperfection of the Geological Record'). By the time the third
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