Origin of species by means of natural selection
On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life... London, John Murray, 1861,
8vo in 12s, (200 x 124 mm), with a folding diagram, a very clean, bright copy, tight in its binding, original publisher’s cloth. £3,750.00
Third edition of the single most important biological book ever published. ‘The publication of the Origin of species ushered in a new era in our thinking about the nature of man. The intellectual revolution it caused and the impact it had on man’s concept of himself and the world were greater than those caused by the works of Copernicus, Newton, and the great physicists of more recent times ... Every modern discussion of man’s future, the population explosion, the struggle for existence, the purpose of man and the universe, and man’s place in nature rests on Darwin’ (Ernst Mayr).
The third edition appeared in April 1861, 2,000 copies being printed. The binding is the same as that of the two previous editions, but again differing in small details. It was extensively altered, and is of interest for the addition of a table of differences between it and the second edition, a table which occurs in each subsequent edition, and also for the addition of the historical sketch. This sketch, which was written to satisfy complaints that Darwin had not sufficiently considered his predecessors in the general theory of evolution, had already appeared in a shorter form in the first German edition, as well as in the fourth American printing where it is called a preface; both of these appeared in 1860. Asa Gray wrote to Darwin on Feb. 20 that he had delivered to Appleton "Historical paper". There is also a postscript on page xii. This concerns a review of the earlier editions by Asa Gray which had appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1860, and as a pamphlet paid for by Darwin, in 1861. This edition has one leaf of advertisements which is part of the book (2A6).