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First or Sixth edition of Origin of Species

scarr at kean.ucs.mun.ca scarr at kean.ucs.mun.ca
Wed Jul 27 09:45:47 EST 1994

In article <CtLnM6.3ow at cc.umontreal.ca>, okellyc at megasun.BCH.UMontreal.CA (Charles J. O'Kelly) writes:
> In article <1994Jul26.141037.14187 at galileo.cc.rochester.edu>, madda at troi.cc.rochester.edu (Warren Lathe) writes:
> |> In <dld.775218200 at bruce.cs.monash.edu.au> dld at cs.monash.edu.au (David L Dowe) writes:
> |> 
> |> >   I understand that Darwin postulates his theory of the "survival of the
> |> >fittest" in (please correct me if I'm wrong) 'The origin of (the) species'.
> |> 
> |> >I would appreciate references to places where Darwin cites this theory,
> |> >including a complete reference to 'The origin of (the) species'.
> |> 
> |> "On the Origin of Species" is definately Darwin's definitive work outlining
> |> his theory of Natural Selection.  Here is a complete reference:
> |> 
> |> Darwin, C., On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: 
> |>      Murray, 1859.
> this citation is to the first edition of Darwin's classic.  however, all but science
> historians usually refer to the sixth (and last) edition, published (I think, my copy's
> at home) 1872, and this is the edition to get.  that's in case you get to your local
> library, call up the screen (or in fossil territory, pull out the cards) and get blown
> away by the huge.long.list that shows up.
> I -do- hope the original poster intends to -read-, not just -cite- these things.  and the
> challenge of reading Darwin's quintessentially Victorian wordiness (he was paid by the
> word, after all) is not to be underestimated.
> Charley O'Kelly			complex problems have simple, easy-to-understand
> Mad Protistologist			wrong answers
> okellyc at bch.umontreal.ca

To see Darwin's work in its strongest form, read the first edition. 
Later editions are cluttered up with attempts to refute various 
objections that we now know have no particular merit, e.g. Fleming 
Jenkin on blending inheritance, and in particular the 5th and 6th 
editions introduce that very unfortunate phrase "Survival of the 
Fittest" borrowed from Spencer. The first edition is the clearest 
statement of Natural Selection, Darwin's key contribution. There is
a facsimile reprint of the 1st ed published by Harvard (maybe out of 
print) and I believe the current Penguin/Pelican books edition is the
1st ed with an historical sketch taken from the last edition.

The one to read is the first, not the sixth.


Steven M. Carr
Dept. of Biology
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's NF A1B 3X9

(709) 737-4776 office / -4713 lab / -4000 FAX
scarr at kean.ucs.mun.ca

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