“THE MOST IMPORTANT SINGLE WORK IN SCIENCE”: IMPORTANT THIRD EDITION OF DARWIN’S ORIGIN OF SPECIES, “EXTENSIVELY ALTERED” BY DARWIN
DARWIN, Charles. On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle For Life. London: John Murray, 1861. Octavo, original green cloth, uncut.
Third edition, of which only 2000 copies were printed, of “certainly the most important biological book ever written” (Freeman), published just two years after the first edition and “extensively altered” by Darwin, in the original cloth.
"This, the most important single work in science, brought man to his true place in nature" (Heralds of Science 199). The Origin was recognized immediately as important, revolutionary and highly controversial; the small first edition of only 1250 copies sold out very quickly, and is extremely rare today. By the autumn of 1859 the publisher Murray was asking Darwin to begin revising again at once for a new edition. "The third edition appeared in April 1861, 2000 copies being printed… It was extensively altered, and is of interest for the addition of a table of differences between it and the second edition… and also for the addition of the historical sketch" in which Darwin situates his work in relation to his predecessors' work on evolution (Freeman, 78). Folding chart opposite page 123, new to this edition and included in all subsequent editions; two pages of publisher's advertisements at rear. Freeman 381, binding variant b (no priority). PMM 344b. Dibner, 199. See Horblit, 23b. Owner ink signature to half title; penciled annotations to verso of front free endpaper. Bookseller's ticket to front pastedown; binder's ticket to rear.
Mild foxing to preliminaries and text block edges; text generally clean. Expert reinforcement to text block and inner hinges. Unrestored original cloth with light wear to foot of spine, pinprick hole to rear joint; spine gently toned, cloth clean, gilt bright. An extremely good copy.