London: John Murray [through 1861], 1859. Early Reprint. Third Edition (seventh thousand) of the "most influential scientific work of the nineteenth century" (Grolier 100 Science) and "certainly the most important biological book ever written." (Freeman) 8vo: xix,,538pp (including unrecorded variant title page), with single leaf of advertisements and folding lithographed diagram by William West, charting Darwin's views of possible sequences of evolution. Original green sand-grain cloth, spine lettered in gilt, covers with decorative panels blocked in blind, brown clay-coated end papers, edges untrimmed. Variant "b" binding (without full point after "MURRAY" on the spine). An excellent example of this rare issue, recased in the original cloth binding (not rebacked), with spine ends skillfully restored and crease to spine carefully repaired, now barely visible. Minor wear to cloth, corners bumped, original endpapers rehinged with matching vintage paper. Manuscript ex-libris on title page of "John Hitchman M.D." (1815-1893), English physician and superintendent of Mickleover Asylum (later Pastures Hospital) near Derby, where this copy was purchased (bookseller's ticket on front paste-down of J. A. Rowbottom). On page [x] a previous owner (perhaps Hitchman) has written notes on Darwin's death and estate, erroneously naming the author "Charles Erasmus Darwin" (Darwin's middle name was Robert). Minor foxing spots and occasional marks, very slight age toning, no ink marks or notes in text pages but the stray pencil mark and margin note. Regarding the title page, all recorded copies have the year printed beginning with a distorted number "1," while our copy has the number fully intact, raising the possibly that the title page was reset to correct this minor problem. It also suggests there may exist other alterations in the text that close comparison could reveal. Regardless, this issue is rare. Freeman 381. For comments on the Origin's inestimable significance, see: PMM 344b. Dibner 199. Garrison–Morton 220. Horblit 23b. Norman 593. Grolier 100 Science 23b. Grolier 100 Medicine 70b. Item #BB1385
The third edition appeared in April,1861, in a run of just 2,000 copies (the second edition print run was 5,000), only 17 months after Darwin had received his advance copy of the first edition. The binding nearly matches that of the two previous editions, differing only in minor details. But the text was extensively altered, so much so that a table of differences between it and the second edition (a table that was updated for each subsequent edition) was added. Darwin also added the full historical sketch, written to satisfy complaints that he had not sufficiently credited his predecessors in presenting the general theory of evolution. (The sketch had already appeared in shorter form in the first German edition and in the fourth American printing (both 1860), in which it is called a preface. There also appears for the first time a postscript, on page xii. "Darwin not only drew an entirely new picture of the workings of organic nature; he revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken." (PMM). N.B.: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.