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The Descent of Man,

and selection in relation to sex.

Stock Code 109237

London, John Murray, 1871

Original price $3,202.00 - Original price $3,202.00
Original price
$3,202.00 - $3,202.00
Current price $3,202.00
Leonard Harrison Matthews' F.R.S. copy. The first edition of Darwin's second work of genius, containing his earliest published use of the term 'evolution'. A true sequel to Origin of a Species, the Descent of Man picked up where the earlier work had left off, discussing for the first time the place occupied by Homo sapiens in the Darwinian scheme of natural selection. An immensely popular work from the get-go, over 5000 copies of Descent were sold within the first year cementing Darwin's status in the public mind as a 'gentleman of science'.

Darwin 'had avoided the logical outcome of the general theory of evolution, bringing man into the scheme, for twelve years, and in fact it had, by that time, been so much accepted that the clamour of the opposition was not strident' (Freeman).

Leonard Harrison Matthews F.R.S. (1901-1986) served as scientific director of the Zoological Society of London from 1951 to 1966. He was appointed a fellow of the Royal Society in 1954, recognising his earlier contributions to the Discovery Investigations in the Southern Ocean, which had resulted in several important monographs on cetaceans. Continuing to publish in later life, Matthews was perhaps 'the last of the great naturalists, a man with a wide interest in animals, less concerned with laboratory experimentation than with animal life in the field' (ODNB).

First edition, second issue, 2 vols; 8vo (19.5 x 13.5 cm); ownership inscription in pen to front free endpaper of vol. I, and half-title vol. II, MS note on music loosely inserted to front endpapers, numerous illustrations, half-titles, ads. to title verso of each vol., 16pp. ads. to rear of vol. I, and 16pp ads. rear vol. II, without the errata to verso of title-page of vol. II, and errors in vol. I corrected, light spotting to endpapers, occasional soiling; publisher's blindstamped green cloth, gilt spine, extremities rubbed, internal hinges cracked but holding; viii, 423, [1], 16; viii, 475, [1], 16pp.

Freeman 938.

Provenance: L. Harrison Matthews (ownership inscription).


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