London: John Murray, 1868.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003579
Two volumes. 8vo (221 x 142 mm). viii, 411 ; viii, 486 pp. With 32 pp. of publisher's catalogue dated April 1867 in vol. I and  pp. ads dated February 1868 in vol. II; 5 errata on 6 lines in vol. I and 9 errata on 7 lines in vol. II as called for. Original publishers green cloth with gilt-lettered and decorated spines including the one-line imprint to each tail, dark-blue-coated endpapers and binder's ticket (Edmonds & Remnants) to the rear paste-down of vol. I (bindings sound and tight, very minor rubbing to cloth and extremities, corners with some minor wear but free of bumping). All pages uncut and partly unopened. Except for light foxing of edges and endpapers and a few occasional faint spots, bright and clean throughout (including titles and preliminaries); a few light pencil annotations and markings in places. A very good+ set. ----
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. Includes the first appearance of the phrase "survival of the fittest" in any of Darwin's works (p. 6 of 1st volume). The present text provides a "full statement of the facts on which the theories of the 'Origin' were based" (ODNB). A large part of the book contains details and discussion about artificial selection, and it also contains Darwin's provisional hypothesis of pangenesis - one which he thought was new but was in fact not. It is his longest, most substantial work. "This represents the only section of Darwin's big book on the origin of species which was printed in his lifetime and corresponds to its first two intended chapters" (Freeman).
The Variation "represents the only section of Darwin's big book on the origin of species which was printed in his lifetime and corresponds to its first two intended chapters" (Freeman, p.122). The gestation of Darwin's theories was extremely long, starting with his observations and findings on the Beagle voyage, culminating over many years of painstaking research with an unwieldy 250,000 word treatise entitled 'Natural Selection' that was far from complete. Wallace's letter of June 1858 forced Darwin into writing an abstract of this work called On the Origin of Species. However, Darwin was determined to publish the research that had led him to the Origin, and work on Variation began two days after the second edition of the Origin appeared on 7 January 1860. Along with the ascertainable facts of artificial selection, it contained Darwin's hypothesis of pangenesis. Francis Darwin recorded that "about half of the eight years that elapsed between its commencement and completion were spent on it. The book did not escape adverse criticism: it was said, for instance, that the public had been patiently waiting for Mr. Darwin's pièces justicatives, and that after eight years of expectation all they got was a mass of detail about pigeons, rabbits and silk worms. But the true critics welcomed it as an expansion with unrivalled wealth of illustration of a section of the Origin" (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters, ed. F. Darwin, New York, 1958, p. 281). The book's slow progress towards publication was due not only to its size, but also the author's ill health. It was finally published on 30 January 1868, the first issue consisting of 1500 copies.
References: Norman 597 (2nd issue only); Freeman 877; Garrison-Morton 224.1 - Visit our website to see more images!
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