“MAN STILL BEARS… THE INDELIBLE STAMP OF HIS LOWLY ORIGIN”: FIRST ISSUE OF THE DESCENT OF MAN, HANDSOMELY BOUND IN CONTEMPORARY CALF
DARWIN, Charles. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: John Murray, 1871. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter polished tan calf gilt, raised bands, red and brown morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers and edges. Housed in a custom slipcase.
First edition, first issue, of Darwin’s landmark treatise, in which the word “evolution” is used to describe his theory for the first time in any of his works, handsomely bound.
“The book, in its first edition, contains two parts, the descent of man itself, and selection in relation to sex. The word ‘evolution’ occurs [Volume I, p. 2] for the first time in any of Darwin’s works” (Freeman, 128-29). “In the Origin Darwin had avoided discussing the place occupied by Homo sapiens in the scheme of natural selection, stating only that ‘light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.’ Twelve years later he made good his promise with The Descent of Man” (Norman 599). First issue: Volume I, page 297 begins with “transmitted”; Volume II with printer’s note on verso of half title, errata on verso of title and Darwin’s note on “a serious and unfortunate error” (p. [ix]). Bound without advertisements. Freeman 937. Garrison & Morton 170. Norman 599. Armorial bookplates. Bookseller’s small tickets. Occasional light pencil marginalia.
Bindings lightly rubbed. A very nearly fine copy, handsomely bound.