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A RARE BOOK IS A GREAT INVESTMENT
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London: John Murray, 1877. Illustrated by G B Sowerby. 2nd Edition. Original Cloth. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: First printing of the second edition (revised) of Darwin's first book of evidence in support of 'Origin of Species'. Published by John Murray of London in 1877. 300 pages plus 32pp publisher's catalogue dated January 1876. Size; 19 x 13 cms (7.5" x 5"). Weight; 635g (22 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate this as very good. The original green cloth covers, with gilt titling to the spine, are generally sound and clean, with a little bruising to the extremities and a light scratch on the front (see photo). The binding remains generally tight and secure throughout. The text and wood engraving illustrations are generally clean, bright and free from foxing with just one or two freckles on the odd early page. There are 2 newspaper cuttings pasted to the prelims, which have offset on to the half title and title pages (see photo). All in all, this is a tidy early edition of a collectible Darwin title - at a price several hundred pounds below that of a first edition. THE BOOK: From Darwin's autobiography: 'On May 15th, 1862, my little book on the Fertilisation of Orchids, which cost me ten months' work, was published: most of the facts had been slowly accumulated during several previous years. During the summer of 1839, and, I believe, during the previous summer, I was led to attend to the cross-fertilisation of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come to the conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, that crossing played an important part in keeping specific forms constant. I attended to the subject more or less during every subsequent summer....For some years before 1862 I had specially attended to the fertilisation of our British orchids; and it seemed to me the best plan to prepare as complete a treatise on this group of plants as well as I could, rather than to utilise the great mass of matter which I had slowly collected with respect to other plants.' Freeman on the second edition: 'In 1869, Darwin published a paper (No. 1748) which is an English version of some matter which was prepared for insertion in the first French translation of the book. This matter was incorporated in the second English edition of 1877. The text of this was considerably altered and the inserted Figure I is now incorporated. Its title is condensed by the omission of On and British and Foreign as well as the last phrase.' (Book ref. 001347)
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London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1874. 2nd Edition. Three-quarters leather. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: This is a second edition copy of a rare Darwin title, published by Smith Elder of London in 1874. 278 pages, with 3 fold-out plates as called for. Size; 19 x 13 cms (7.5" x 5"). Weight; 605g (21 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate this as very good. The covers are three-quarters black leather over marbled boards with 5 raised bands and gilt lettering to the spine. The boards are well worn (see photo) but the leather is mostly sound, save for some wear at the spine top. The binding remains tight and secure throughout. The text and plates are clean, bright and free from foxing, though with age-toning to the page edges. There is a Cambridge Union Society stamp to the title page and at the foot of the spine. A tidy copy, overall, and offered at a price some hundreds of pounds below the normal for a second edition and thousands below the cost of a first! THE BOOK: The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836, was published in 1842 as Charles Darwin's first monograph, and set out his theory of the formation of coral reefs and atolls. He conceived of the idea during the voyage of the Beagle while still in South America, before he had seen a coral island, and wrote it out as HMS Beagle crossed the Pacific Ocean, completing his draft by November 1835. At the time there was great scientific interest in the way that coral reefs formed, and Captain Robert FitzRoy's orders from the Admiralty included the investigation of an atoll as an important scientific aim of the voyage. FitzRoy chose to survey the Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean. The results supported Darwin's theory that the various types of coral reefs and atolls could be explained by uplift and subsidence of vast areas of the Earth's crust under the oceans. The book was the first volume of three Darwin wrote about the geology he had investigated during the voyage, and was widely recognised as a major scientific work that presented his deductions from all the available observations on this large subject. In 1853, Darwin was awarded the Royal Society's Royal Medal for the monograph and for his work on barnacles. Darwin's theory that coral reefs formed as the islands and surrounding areas of crust subsided has been supported by modern investigations, and is no longer disputed. This second edition was extensively revised and rewritten to take into account James Dwight Dana's 1872 publication Corals and Coral Islands, and work by Joseph Jukes. (Book ref. 001271)
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London: Jonathan Cape, 1995. 1st Edition. Original Cloth. Fine. PUBLISHING DETAILS: True first edition of Janet Browne's magnificent biography, published by Jonathan Cape of London in 1995. 605 pages, including index. Size; 24 x 16 cms (9.5" x 6"). Weight; 1105g (39 ozs). CONDITION: I would rate the book as fine and the unclipped dustjacket as near fine. An attractive copy of this sought after first edition. THE BOOK: Few lives of great men offer so much interest--and so many mysteries--as the life of Charles Darwin, whose ideas are still inspiring discoveries and controversies more than a hundred years after his death. Drawing upon much new material, supported by an unmatched acquaintance with both the intellectual setting and the voluminous sources, Janet Browne, in this first book of her two-volume biography, has been able to unravel the central enigma of Darwin's career: how did this amiable young gentleman, born into a prosperous provincial English family, grow into a thinker capable of challenging the most basic principles of religion and science? The dramatic story of Voyaging takes us from agonizing personal challenges to the exhilaration of discovery; we see a young, inquisitive Darwin gradually mature, shaping, refining, and finally setting forth the ideas that would at last fall upon the world like a thunderclap in The Origin of Species. REVIEWS: Brilliantly penetrating...utterly riveting', Daily Telegraph .'An astonishing fresh picture of the great naturalist...Janet Browne's book is a triumph, the closest we can come to getting inside Darwin's mind', Sunday Telegraph .'Browne knows how to spellbind the reader...The definitive Darwin biography', Ernst Mayr, New York Newsday .'An authoritative and highly readable biography which uncovers the complex process of scientific discovery', Independent .'It is wonderful and marvellous, even magisterial', Stephen Jay Gould, New York Review of Books (Book ref. 001130)
London: Secker & Warburg, 1983. Illustrated by Various. First Edition. Original Cloth. Fine. In his lucid last work, Rattray Taylor attempts a synthesis of the arguments now raging among the students of Evolution, and explains recent work on genetics and on the origin of 'non-equilibrium systems' which thow a new light on this subect. The book is sized approx 24 x 16 cms (9.5" x 6.5") and has 277 pages, including the index. There are many well-chosen monochrome illustrations. The condition of the book/dustjacket, in my opinion, is fine/near fine. Save for slight tanning to the cover, they are pretty well as new. (Book ref. 000189)