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The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication
2 volumes, demy octavo. Original green cloth, blind-panelled covers, spines gilt with imprint at foot in one line, dark green coated endpapers, Edmonds & Remnants label at end of vol. I. First edition, first issue. With a slip of paper with the inscription "From the Author" in Darwin's hand pasted to the front free endpaper. Presentation inscriptions in Darwin's hand are notoriously rare; the usual procedure was for the inscription to be in the hand of one of Murray's clerks. The bookplate is that of James McBryde, a Scottish chemist from near Stranraer, who co-founded an alkali firm in St Helens, Lancashire. He owned a number of books by Charles Darwin and associated evolutionary material. His son, also James McBryde, went up to King's College Cambridge in 1893 to read Natural Sciences. He became friends with M. R. James and completed four illustrations for James's Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, but died of complications following an appendix operation before he could complete them. With 5- and 7-line errata in vols. I and II respectively, issued in two volumes demy octavo, the only Murray Darwin to appear in this larger format. "This represents the only section of Darwin's big book on the origin of species which was printed in his lifetime and corresponds to its first two intended chapters" (Freeman). "Its two volumes were intended to provide overwhelming evidence for the ubiquity of variation, although they would also incidentally answer Lyell and Gray, who maintained that variations had not occurred purely by chance but were providentially directed. Darwin showed that breeders indeed selected from a vast array of minute random variations. He gave numerous instances of the causes of variability, including the direct effect of the conditions of life, reversion, the effects of use and disuse, saltation, prepotency, and correlated growth. The Variation also addressed a key criticism of the Origin of Species: that it lacked an adequate understanding of inheritance" (ODNB). The term "survival of the fittest" (borrowed at Wallace's insistence from Herbert Spencer's 1866 Principles of Biology) first appeared in the Variation (v. 2, p. 89), preceding its first use in the fifth edition of the Origin of Species (1869). The Variation was a full statement of the facts on which the theories of the Origin were based, though leaving aside an account of human evolution for The Descent of Man (1871).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2016-10-02           Check availability:      PBFA    


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