DARWIN, Charles.

On the Origin of Species by means of natural selection,

or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. Fifth thousand.

London: John Murray, 1860 Stock Code: 147512
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The most influential scientific work of the 19th century

Second edition, the usual issue correctly dated 1860 on the title page (a very few copies only have 1859), of "the most influential scientific work of the 19th century" (Horblit) and "certainly the most important biological book ever written" (Freeman), in which Darwin explained his concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection, which would become the foundation of modern evolutionary theory.

With a print run of 3,000 copies, the second edition was published, in the form in which it is typically seen, on 7 January 1860. "The misprint 'speceies' is corrected and the whale-bear story diluted, an alteration which Darwin later regretted, although he never restored the full text. This story is not found again in any printing, except in the American editions of 1860, until the end of copyright" (Freeman).

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Octavo signed and sewn in twelves. Original diagonal-wave-grain green cloth by Edmonds & Remnants (their ticket to rear pastedown), spine gilt-lettered, covers blocked in blind, light brown endpapers, fore edge untrimmed.


Folding diagram to face p. 117; Murray's general list advertisements at rear, dated January 1860.


Ownership signature, D. A. McGillivray, in ink to front free endpaper, signature to upper margin of title page subsequently rubbed out, pencilled marginal marker to p. 287. Extremities rubbed and bumped, a few nicks and spots of wear to spine ends, bar a couple of tiny marks the cloth bright and clean; front inner hinge cracked but firm, contents occasionally foxed and spotted, gatherings M and N standing a little proud from book block, small closed tear to bottom edge of pp. 207/8; short split along fold of table. Overall a very good copy in the original cloth.


Freeman 376 (variant a). See Horblit 23b (first edition).


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