Hard Cover. London: John Murray, 1871. First Edition. Fine.
Two volumes. First edition, fourth printing (eighth thousand), printed December 1871 (same year as the first printing). Finely bound in early 20th century three-quarter tan calf over green pattern-textured boards, all edges marbled red and blue with matching marbled endpapers. A very bright and fine set with only a touch of rubbing to the extremities and some very minor wear to along the edges. Freeman 940. First published in February of 1871, The Descent of Man expands upon the theories of selection and evolution proposed in Darwin's earlier work, On the Origin of Species (1859). In Descent, Darwin puts forth a new theory of sexual selection, explaining how it differs from and works alongside natural selection. Notably, the first edition of Descent marks the first appearance of the word "evolution" in Darwin's writing. This volume discusses how evolutionary processes apply to humankind, drawing in concepts from evolutionary psychology and ideas of differing characteristics of anthropologically defined races of people. This work had huge implications for the history of humankind and was met with mixed responses from a society in which conservative religious beliefs could be at odds with scientific advancement.