DARWIN, Charles Robert. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex ... Second Edition, Revised and Augmented. London: William Clowes and Sons, Limited for John Murray, 1890.
8vo. Original green cloth, boards with blind-ruled borders and panelled in blind, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, pp. xvi, 693, [1 (blank)]; wood-engraved illustrations in the text; previous owner's bookplate to front pastedown, very good indeed.
Second edition, twenty-ninth thousand. In this work, which complements On the Origin of Species, Darwin expounded fully his theory of sexual selection and discussed at length the link he recognised between human and ape lineage: 'In the Origin Darwin had avoided discussing the place occupied by Homo sapiens in the scheme of natural selection, stating only that "light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." Twelve years later he made good his promise with The descent of man, in which he compared man's physical and psychological characteristics to similar traits in apes and other animals, showing how even man's mind and moral sense could have developed through evolutionary processes. In discussing man's ancestry Darwin did not claim that man was directly descended from apes as we know them today, but stated simply that the extinct ancestors of Homo sapiens would have to be classified among the primates; however, this statement, as misinterpreted by the popular press, caused a furor second only to that raised by the Origin' (Norman, p. 218). This book further enhanced Darwin's fame, if not his popularity, and is one of the most significant works in the evolutionary canon. The second edition, which first appeared in 1874, was 'extensively revised and contains a note of the brains of man and apes by T.H. Huxley at pp. 199-206 [...] the twelfth thousand of 1877 has added at the end, pp. 620-624, a supplemental note which is reprinted from Nature of November 2 1876, p. 18. This is the final definitive text, and subsequent one volume issues until the turn of the century [including this] are from stereos of it' (Freeman p. 130).
BM(NH) I, p. 423; Freeman 971.