DARWIN, Erasmus.

The botanic garden;


The botanic garden;
a poem, in two parts. Part I. Containing the economy of vegetation. Part II. The loves of the plants. With philosophical notes.
London , Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1791.

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First edition of part 1, third edition part 2.

This book is best known as a precursor to the work of his famous grandson in propounding a sort-of evolutionary theory. It was issued in two parts “The Economy of Vegetation” and “The Loves of the Plants”. While it was Erasmus’ grandson Charles who shook the world with evolutionary theory, his grandfather Erasmus had actually been an earlier explorer in the subject – ‘to elaborate upon the implications of the ‘promiscuous’ animals of New South Wales [and to use] the idea of this promiscuity as the basis for his theory that all life derived from primeval filaments, such promiscuous intercourse between different filaments giving rise to the extant species of animals?’ (Finney, To Sail Beyond the Sunset). Darwin’s scientific speculations, including his ideas on the generation of life, influenced Mary Shelley, and through her, science fiction writing.William Blake seems to have engraved at least five of the plates (see Bentley, p. 547), although only one of them – the striking “Fertilisation of Egypt” after Fuseli – is signed. Blake was probably also responsible for the four engravings of the Portland Vase.


4to., 2 parts in 1, xii,212,[1],212-214,126,[2]pp, 20 engraved plates including 5 by William Blake, occasional offsetting and light spotting, contemporary tree calf gilt, neat repairs to extremities, green morocco label renewed, a very handsome example.



Stock ID: 93380