'From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely the production of the higher animals, directly follows'
Written for a general readership, On the Origin of Species sold out on the day of its publication and has remained in print ever since. Instantly, and persistently, controversial, it transformed scientific thinking about all life on earth. Before the Origin, accepted thought held that life was the static and perfect creation of God. By a single, systematic argument Darwin called this view into question. His ideas have since affected public perception of everything from religion to economics.
William Bynum's introduction discusses Darwin's life, the publication and reception of On the Origin of Species, and subsequent development of its major themes. This edition also includes brief biographies of some of the most important scientific thinkers leading up to and surrounding the Origin, suggested further reading, notes and a chronology.
With an introduction and notes by WILLIAM BYNUM
About The Author
Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury in 1809 and was educated at Shrewsbury School, Edinburgh University and Christ’s College Cambridge. He took his degree in 1831 and in the same year embarked on a five-year voyage on HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain; the purpose of the voyage was to chart the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and to carry a chain of chronometric readings round the world.
While he was away some of his letters on scientific matters were privately published, and on his return he at once took his place among the leading men of science. In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Most of the rest of his life was occupied in publishing the findings of the voyage and in documenting his theory of the transmutation of species. On the origin of species by means of natural selection appeared in 1859.
Darwin spent many years with his wife – his cousin Emma Wedgwood, whom he had married in 1839 – and their children at Down House in Kent. He died in 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 576
Published: October 2009
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Number: 1