Synopses & Reviews
It is now fully recognized that the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859 brought about a revolution in man's attitude toward life and his own place in the universe. This work is rightly regarded as one of the most important books ever published, and a knowledge of it should be part of the intellectual equipment of every educated person. The book remains surprisingly modern in its assertions and is also remarkably accessible to the layman, much more so than recent treatises necessarily encumbered with technical language and professional jargon. This first edition had a freshness and uncompromising directness that were considerably weakened in later editions, and yet nearly all available reprints of the work are based on the greatly modified sixth edition of 1872. In the only other modern reprinting of the first edition, the pagination was changed, so that it is impossible to give page references to significant passages in the original. Clearly this facsimile reprint of the momentous first edition fills a need for scholars and general readers alike.
[Ed. note: This review was originally published in the Atlantic Monthly
, July 1860].
Novelties are enticing to most people: to us they are simply annoying. We cling to a long-accepted theory, just as we cling to an old suit of clothes. A new theory, like a new pair of breeches, (The Atlantic still affects the older type of nether garment,) is sure to have hardfitting places; or even when no particular fault can be found with the article, it oppresses with a sense of general discomfort. New notions and new styles worry us, till we get well used to them, which is only by slow degrees. Asa Gray, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
This, the most interesting and helpful edition of Charles Darwin's major work, is now available in an inexpensive paperback edition. It is written with a clarity, forcefulness, and conciseness not found in any subsequent revision. For modern reading and for reference, it is the standard edition.
The complete text of the first edition of Darwin's classic treatise on evolution is accompanied by an historical and biographical introduction.
Table of Contents
- Introduction [Ernest Mayr]
- On the Origin of Species
- Subject Index
- Diagram of Divergence