"Darwin produced six editions [of The Origin of Species] during his lifetime and, as Peckham demonstrated nearly fifty years ago, he tinkered constantly with the text, adding and amending, revising and rethinking and, above all, responding to criticism."—Times Literary SupplementThe theories propounded by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species have had a profound and revolutionary effect, not only on biology but also on philosophy, history, and theology. His concept of natural selection has created eruptive disputes among scientists and religious leaders of his time and ours. The phenomenal importance of his brilliant work is universally recognized, but the present volume marks the first scholarly attempt to compile a complete variorum edition of The Origin of Species, covering all of the extensive variants in the six texts published between 1859 and 1872.
Darwin's changes were extensive. His book grew by a third as he rewrote many passages four or five times, and in this edition Morse Peckham has recorded every one of those changes. A book of such distinctive dimensions, on a subject of such profound importance, will be of intense interest to historians of biology, evolution, science, literature, and cultural development. It will be an invaluable aid to the clarification and full comprehension of this complex and renowned scientific classic.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was the British naturalist who originated the theories of natural selection and evolution.
Morse Peckham, Director of the University of Pennsylvania Press from 1953 to 1955, was Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina and author of many books, including Beyond the Tragic Vision and Explanation and Power: An Inquiry into the Control of Human Behavior.