BookDARWIN, Charles. Rare Second Edition. Published by John Murray, London, 1860. On the Origin of Species was voted the most influential academic book ever written. It was hailed as "the supreme demonstration of why academic books matter" and "a book which has changed the way we think about everything." The last few First Editions with original binding have sold at auction in a for several hundred of thousands This is a rare second edition.
Considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research and experimentation. This copy bears the original label of Mudie's Subscription Library, the book lending business that helped to ensure Darwin's phenomenal success. Charles Mudie began to lend books to students at the University of London in 1842, charging subscribers one guinea per year for the right to borrow one volume at a time. This proved so successful that in 1852 he expanded his operations, taking up quarters across from the British Museum. Mudie was crucial to the success of scientific works such as Darwin's. In November 1859, he bought up 500 of the original 1,250 copies of the first edition of the Origin of Species (40% of the entire print run). This gave Darwin’s landmark work a much wider audience than he would otherwise have enjoyed, and Darwin himself commented on the fact that those 500 copies of Origin of the Species reached far more readers by Mudie’s business than they would have in private hands. Mudie revelled in the controversy created by evolutionary theory and stocked a wide range of evolutionary works by other authors such as Lyell, Huxley and Lubbock. Following Mudie’s purchase, Darwin’s wife wrote to their son, "It is a wonderful thing the whole edition selling off at once & Mudie taking 500 copies. Your father says he shall never think small beer of himself again & that candidly he does think it very well written." A tightly bound copy of this rare work, with some light wear to corners. Professional restoration to spine and half-title, and to a few small closed tears. Original endpapers have been strengthened using matching vintage paper. Light foxing. Original folding diagram is in good condition.