with an extensive series of letters between darwin and romanes

ROMANES, George John and Ethel ROMANES. The Life and Letters of George John Romanes ... Written and Edited by His Wife.

London: Spottiswoode and Co. for Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896.


8vo. Original green cloth, boards with blind-ruled borders, spine lettered in gilt; pp. [ii], x, 360, 24 (publisher's catalogue), photogravure portrait frontispiece by Swan Electric Engraving Co. after Elliot & Fry, retaining tissue guard, 2 half-tone plates, illustrations in the text; variable light spotting mainly to edges, a very good copy; provenance: front pastedown with bookplate of the South Place Ethical Society, now known as the Conway Hall Ethical Society. Founded in 1793 in Finsbury is is the oldest surviving freethought organisation in the world. Verso of ffep with signature of Samuel Prout Newcombe (1824-1912), a prominent photographer who ran several studios in London and Manchester and founded the London School of Photography near his home in Islangton, not far from Finsbury. He was a correspondent with A.R. Wallace and so clearly had an interest in Darwinist natural sciences.

First edition. A posthumous biography of Romanes (1848–1894), composed of extensive extracts from his correspondence connected by biographical passages written by his wife, the writer and historian Ethel Romanes. George Romanes first met Darwin in 1874, and the two men quickly became close scientific collaborators, enjoying a ''a personal friendship that remained close until [Darwin's] death [...] Romanes proved to be one of the most brilliant of the second generation of British Darwinists. Freed from professional obligations by family wealth, uninterested in politics, and endowed with tremendous energy and enthusiasm, he was able to put all his resources at the disposal of science. A clear and forceful writer, he was a prolific contributor not only to scientific journals but also to the monthly reviews that then helped to shape educated opinion'' (DSB XI, p. 517). Darwinism was also promoted through the eponymous lectures at Oxford which Romanes endowed in 1891: the second was T.H. Huxley's "Evolution and Ethics" and the third was the neo-Darwinist August Weismann's "The Effect of External Influences upon Development". The Life and Letters is notable for the long series of letters to and from Charles Darwin and, later, Francis Darwin, and the correspondence with other scientists in the field of evolution, including George Henslow and Weismann. The first edition is rare on the market.