London: John Murray, 1871. First Edition. Original green publisher’s cloth binding stamped in blind with spines lettered in gilt. Black coated endpapers. With errata on the verso of the title page to Volume 2, the inserted leaf in Volume 2 explaining “a serious and unfortunate error” affecting the text of pages 297-299 in Volume 1 and pages 167 and 237 in Volume 2. No text corrected. Two small octavo volumes partially unopened, measuring 191 x 126 mm. Collates viii, 423, [1, printer’s imprint]; viii, 475, [1, printer’s imprint]: complete with half titles present and the 16 page publisher’s advertisements dated January 1871 at the rear of each volume. Includes 76 wood engraved illustrations.
Volume one Very Good + with a closed tear to the cloth at the front joint, inner hinges repaired, and page 15 reinserted (possibly supplied). Volume two generally in excellent condition, free of repair or restoration, Near Fine. Both volumes with bright spine gilt and only a bit of wear to the spine ends and corners. Housed in a cloth slipcase.
“The sole object of this work is to consider, firstly, whether men like every other species is descended from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development, and thirdly, the value of differences between the so called races of man.” This critically important scientific work applies the theory of evolution to human development, detailing how humans over time have deployed sexual selection to shape the species. Disrupting Judeo-Christian narratives that traditionally placed man at the center of nature, The Descent of Man posits that humans are largely like other animals, from the time of their embryonic formation and through their evolution. Among Darwin’s notable contributions were his assertion of women’s dominant role in shaping the species through mate choice and discussions of how the developments of human sympathy and medicine have altered the effectiveness of natural selection. Very Good + to Near Fine (Item #2382)