The descent of man and selection in relation to sex.

London: John Murray, 1871. Two volumes. 8vo. viii, 423, [1]; viii, [ii], 475, [1] pp., including the note tipped in after the contents of Volume II (as per Freeman), plus 16. FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. With numerous text figures. Original publisher’s binding, minor wear to front cover of first volume; overall an excellent set, Volume II unopened, with an inscription “Mary Englmann Charles (?) from a friend” and dated May, 1871 at the top of the half-title to Volume I. Item #16359

First edition, first issue of Darwin’s classic work in comparative anatomy, his first inclusion of man in the general theory of natural selection, and the first appearance of the term “evolution” in any of his works (see Volume I, page 2).

In the twelve years since the publication of the Origin, Darwin had expanded his thinking as to man’s inclusion with the other animals, and this title, which grew out of his Variations of Animals and Plants, is based on his vast collection of data dating from 1837. Here, by comparing the physiological and psychological aspects of man and ape, he fills in what had been merely suggested in the Origin, that man’s ancestor, if still alive today, would be classified among the primates and on a lower scale than the apes. The last chapter is an added essay on sexual selection, that is, the preferential chances of mating that some individuals of one sex have over their rivals.

Freeman lists five characteristics of the first issue, and these are all present in this copy. The one variant he notes is on the title page of Darwin’s own copy.

Price: $8,500.00