Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #96 begins on 20 Jan 2022

US Auction #9 has ended

Darwin, Charles

The Descent Of Man - (first edition)

Published: John Murray, London, 1871

Edition: Vol.1 is first edition, Vol.2 is first ed., second impression

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Two volume set, attractively bound in green cloth, gilt spine titles and decorations. 'Darwin wrote, in the preface to the second edition, of "the fiery ordeal through which this book has passed". He had avoided the logical outcome of the general theory of evolution, bringing man into the scheme, for twelve years, and in fact it had, by that time, been so much accepted that the clamour of the opposition was not strident. He had also been preceded in 1863 by Huxley's 'Man's Place In Nature'. The book, in its first edition, contains two parts, the descent of man itself, and selection in relation to sex. The word 'evolution' occurs, for the first time in any of Darwin's works, on page 2 of the first volume of the first edition, that is to say before its appearance in the sixth edition of 'On The Origin Of Species' in the following year. The last chapter is about sexual selection in relation to man, and it ends with the famous peroration about man's lowly origin, the wording of which differs slightly in the first edition from that which is usually quoted.'[source: http://darwin-online.org.uk]

Issue points to note: Volume 1 has black end-papers, Volume 2 has brown. This means that Volume 1 of this set is first edition, first impression (issued Feb.24th 1871, 2500 copies), and Volume 2 is first edition, second impression (issued in March 1871, 2000 copies). The first word on page 297 of Vol.1 is 'transmitted' in the first issue and 'When' in the second. In this copy of Vol.1 'transmitted' is used. Sixteen pages of adverts appear after the index in both volumes (Mr Murray's List of Popular Works and Mr Murray's List of Standard Works, respectively).

Condition of both volumes is very good: blind stamping on front and rear boards, gilt spine titles and decorations (still bright); corners bumped, both front end-papers split at hinge (not separated), no inscriptions, minor foxing to end-papers (more so to vol.2), bottom edge of vol.1 is uncut, bindings somewhat shaken, resulting in a looseness of some of the gatherings, for example gathering 'O' and 'X' of volume 1 (pp.193-208, and 305-320) are somewhat loose, though not detached. Some of the upper edges toward the end of volume 2 have been roughly cut open (formerly joined pages as per printer's sheet), resulting in jaggedness and fraying. The contents of both volumes are very good, with no foxing or any other blemishes. In summary, a very well preserved, and attractive set of this highly important work.

  • Jacket Condition: no jackets as issued
  • Binding Condition: very good
  • Overall Condition: Good plus
  • Size: 8vo
  • Sold By: Imagine Books
  • Contact Person: Steven Duckworth
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 0833587398
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Preferably EFT's; alternatively PayPal (regret: no credit cards)
  • Trade Associations: SABDA


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