DARWIN, Charles. On Evolution. The Development of the Theory of Natural SelectionEdited by Thomas F. Glick and David Kohn. Indianapolis, IN and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1996.

Octavo (228 x 152mm), pp. xvii, [1 (blank)], 356, [2 (blank l.)]. 7 illustrations and further tables and diagrams in the text. Original colour-printed wrappers. (Spine slightly faded, extremities minimally rubbed and bumped.) A very good copy. Provenance: English Heritage (retailer’s label on lower wrapper) – Stephen John Keynes OBE, FLS (1927-2017).

First edition, second printing, signed by Kohn on the title page ‘David Kohn’. ‘In this rich selection from Darwin’s most important and relevant works, Glick and Kohn provide the reader with a map of sorts by which to navigate the ins and outs of the theory of natural selection’ – or, as the editors put it: ‘The “origin of the Origin” can be followed in this volume from Darwin’s early views of species’ (p. xv) – ‘A concise general introduction lays out Darwin’s theory, which is followed up in the chapter introductions. Each chapter ends with an excerpt from Darwin’s correspondence, commenting on the work in question, its significance, impact, and reception. In addition, two essential appendices are included – the first three chapters from Malthus, On Population, which gave Darwin the idea for natural selection, and the paper by Wallace that motivated Darwin to abandon the “Big Species Book” and write Origin of Species’ (wrapper blurb).

The 12 parts cover the Journal of Researches (first and second edition), Darwin’s notebooks, ‘Darwin and Lamarck: Marginalia’, the 1842 Sketch ‘On Selection under Domestication, Natural Selection, and Organic Beings in the Wild state’ and 1844 essay ‘Variation of Organic Beings in the Wild State’, A Monograph of the Sub-Class CirripediaThe Big Species Book, the theory as sent to Asa Gray, On the Origin of SpeciesVariation of Plants and Animals Under DomesticationThe Descent of Man (second edition), the theme of ‘Flowers and Adaptation’ in Darwin’s writings on orchids, on cross- and self-fertilisation, different flower forms in the same species, and on Lythrum salicaria, and finally his autobiographical writings. 

Although not marked as such, this copy is from the library of the noted bibliophile and collector Stephen Keynes, the great-grandson of Charles Darwin, who was a fellow of the Linnean Society (where Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers enunciating the theory of evolution were first read), and the founder and chairman of the Charles Darwin Trust. It has been signed by David Kohn, Professor Emeritus of History of Science Emeritus at Drew University, Director and General Editor of the Darwin Digital Library at the American Museum of Natural History, and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Darwin Trust.


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