DARWIN, Charles Robert. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

John Murray, 1871.


8vo. Original green cloth, covers embossed in blind, spines titled in gilt; pp. 423 (+ 16pp. adverts.), and pp. 475 (+ 16pp. adverts.), with 76 wood-engraved illustrations; previous owner's signatures to versos of half titles, some light rubbing to extremities, occasional foxing epecially to prelims, otherwise very good.

First edition, second issue, with Murray's advertisements at the end of each volume dated "Jan. 1871". Vol. I, p. 297 starts with "when"; Vol. II has the list of Darwin's works on the verso of the title-page. The first issue, of 2,500, was riddled with errors; this second issue, of only 2,000 copies, was printed one month later with the errors amended. Freeman points out that "the word evolution occurs, for the first time in any of Darwin's works, on page 2 of the first volume." In this work Darwin expounded fully his theory of sexual selection and discussed at length the link he recognised between human and ape lineage. This piece further enhanced Darwin's fame - if not his popularity - and is one of the most significant works in the evolutionary debate. It addresses the issue of human evolution in terms that Darwin had shied away from in On the Origin of Species, knowing how controversial his ideas would be. By 1871, he had the confidence and stature to publicise this crucially important part of his theory of natural selection.

Freeman 938.