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The Foundation of the Origin of Species: Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844 by Charles Darwin

The Foundation of the Origin of Species: Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844 by Charles Darwin


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The development of Charles Darwin's views on evolution by natural selection has fascinated biologists since the 1859 publication of his landmark text On The Origin of Species. His experiences, observations and reflections during and after his pivotal journey on the Beagle during 1831–36 were of critical importance. Darwin was not, however, a man to be rushed. While his autobiography claims that the framework of his theory was laid down by 1839, its first outline sketch did not emerge until 1842. That essay was heavily edited, with many insertions and erasures. It formed the vital kernel of his more expansive but also unpolished and unpublished essay of 1844. Following careful editing by his son Francis, both essays were published in 1909, and are reproduced here. Reading these side by side, and together with the Origin, permits us to scrutinise selection and evolution truly in action.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108004886
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 07/20/2009
Series: Cambridge Library Collection - Darwin, Evolution and Genetics Series
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Date of Birth:

February 12, 1809

Date of Death:

April 19, 1882

Place of Birth:

Shrewsbury, England

Place of Death:

London, England


B.A. in Theology, Christ¿s College, Cambridge University, 1831

Table of Contents

Introduction; Essay of 1842; Part I: 1. On variation under domestication, and on the principles of selection; 2. On variation in a state of nature and on the natural means of selection; 3. On variations in instincts and other mental attributes; Part II: 4. On the evidence from geology; 5. On the evidence from geology; 6. Geographical distribution; 7. Affinities and classification; 8. Unity of type in the great classes; 9. Abortive organs; Essay of 1844; Part I: 1. On the variation of of organic beings under domestication, and on the principles of selection; 2. On the variation of organic beings in a wild state, on the natural means of selection, and on the comparison of domestic races and true species; 3. On the variation of instincts and other mental attributes under domestication and in a state of nature, on the difficulties in this subject, and on analogous difficulties with respect to corporeal structures; Part II. On the Evidence Favourable and Opposed to the View that Species are Naturally Formed Races, Descended from Common Stocks: 4. On the number of intermediate forms required on the theory of common descent, and on their absence in a fossil state; 5. Gradual appearance and disappearance of species; 6. On the geographical distribution of organic beings in past and present time; 7. On the nature of the affinities and classification of organic beings; 8. Unity of type in the great classes, and morphological structure; 9. Abortive or rudimentary organs; 10. Recapitulation and conclusion; Index.

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