DARWIN, Charles.

The Variation of Animal and Plants under Domestication.


The Variation of Animal and Plants under Domestication.

London, John Murray, 1885.

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The Variation of Animal and Plants under Domestication.

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Originally intended as the first two chapters in a larger work on the origin of the species (he viewed the book of that name as simply an abstract of a more substantial project), these were the only ones published in his lifetime. With detailed facts and lengthy discussion, the work includes what Darwin believed to be new ideas of pangenesis, but the topics of sexual selection and human evolution were excluded from these already thick volumes. Despite their size, the works sold briskly (Desmond & Moore, Darwin (London: 1991), p.550).

After running through the first issue in just a week (Freeman, p.122), John Murray produced a second issue, with several variations between the two. In the first, the imprint is printed on a single line on the spine, while it is broken on to two lines in the second. Numerous errata also appear in the first issue, most of which were corrected in the second. A second edition of 1875 bears even greater alterations to the text, as well as being reduced in size to a crown octavo.

“Darwin’s longest work, in which he discusses the differences between animals and plants found in cultivated varieties. The work contains three chapters of inheritance, Darwin’s theory of pangenesis, in which he tried to provide an explanation of hereditary resemblance, inheritance of acquired characteristics, atavism, and regeneration. The theory served as a “point of departure for the particulate theories in the later nineteenth century”.” DSB – Garrett Herman


Second edition, fifth thousand, revised. 2 volumes, 8vo (19.5 x 14 cm). xiv, 473; x, 493 pp. woodcuts in text, publisher’s ads to verso of title page and 32 pages ads dated January 1885 at end of vol. 2, largely unopened. Original green cloth gilt, ruled in blind, a fine copy.


Freeman, 886.


Stock ID: 93089