DARWIN (CHARLES) The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, John Murray, 1859

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Lot 266
DARWIN (CHARLES)
The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, John Murray, 1859

Sold for £ 98,500 (US$ 124,642) inc. premium
DARWIN (CHARLES)
The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, half-title, folding lithographed table, 32-page publisher's catalogue dated June 1859 at end, publisher's green cloth gilt, slightly rubbed at extremities but generally fresh, upper joint weakened, newspaper articles (1871 and 1891) pasted onto endpapers [Freeman 373; Garrison-Morton 220; Norman 593; PMM 344], 8vo, John Murray, 1859

Footnotes

  • A MAGNIFICENT ASSOCIATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF "THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOLOGICAL BOOK EVER" (Freeman). "Darwin not only drew an entirely new picture of the workings of organic nature; he revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken" (PMM).

    Provenance: Joseph Dalton Hooker, autograph inscription to his uncle, "The Revd. J. Gunn from his affect. nephew JDH. Kew Dec. 5/59" on half-title.

    Hooker presented the book, two months after publication, to his uncle by marriage John Gunn (1801-1890), vicar of Barton Turf, Norfolk, and founder member of the Norwich Geological Society. Gunn's obituary in the Geological Magazine (July 1890) noted that with his death there came to an end "one of the last links between the geologists of the present and those who laid the foundation of the science". He was married to Hooker's maternal aunt.

    Joseph Hooker (1817-1911) was one of Darwin's closest friends, their correspondence (comprising some 1400 letters) providing "a structure within which all the other letters can be explored. They are a connecting thread that spans forty years of Darwin's mature working life from 1843 until his death in 1882 and bring into sharp focus every aspect of Darwin's scientific work throughout that period" (Darwin Correspondence Database). Hooker is well known to have been the first person in the world to hear of Darwin's revolutionary theory of evolution, Darwin writing to him, on 11 January 1844, "I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable... I think I have found out (here's presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends" (Darwin Correspondence Database, 729). Their close personal relations were cemented in 1851 when Hooker married Frances, eldest daughter of John Stevens Henslow, the Cambridge professor of botany who had inspired Darwin when he arrived at the University in 1828.

    Darwin sent batches of the manuscript of The Origin of Species to Hooker for comment. On 21 November 1859 Hooker wrote to Darwin, thanking him "for your glorious book— What a mass of close reasoning on curious facts & fresh phenomena — it is capitally written & will be very successful... How different the book reads from the mss — I see I shall have much to talk over with you" (Darwin Correspondence Database, 2539).
Contacts
DARWIN (CHARLES) The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, John Murray, 1859
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