THE CAUSES OF THE PHENOMENA
OF ORGANIC NATURE.
PROFESSOR HUXLEY, F.RS.
LONDON, ROBERT HARDWICKE
BOOK DESCRIPTION: 1st Edition, 2nd Issue - original endpapers, hardback. xiv, 157pp,publisher's adverts [2pp],
CONDITION: VERY GOOD+. Covers
are in excellent condition, with minimal marking/wear. Binding sound. Very little foxing. Stamps and blind-stamps of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to title page and several other pages (I've photographed all the stamps I could find). No foxing and no other ownership marks. A good,
tight copy of Huxley's highly readable lectures (see notes and preface below). This is a scarce Hardwicke printing. The 1st issue appeared right at the end of 1862 and is dated thus on the title page.
Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS
(1825 –1895) was an English biologist (anatomist), known as "Darwin's
Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of natural
selection and was hugely important in popularising science in the late nineteenth century.
The present work was a key title in popularising Darwin's theory of natural selection and consists of the transcription of six lectures delivered to working men at the School of Mines, Jermyn Street, where Huxley was professor. Though he never intended these lectures to be printed he gave an agent of Robert Hardwicke (J. A. Mays) permission to take them down in shorthand with a view to their circulation. Huxley foolishly waived any right to payment and when Hardwicke had them published they sold like hotcakes - much to Huxley's surprise and irritation. In a letter to J. D. Hooker in January 1863, he wrote: "I never imagined the lectures as delivered would be worth bringing out at all, and I knew I had no time to work them out. Now I lament I did not publish them myself and turn an honest penny by them as I suspect Hardwicke is doing. He is advertising them everywhere, confound him."
Later the same month the geologist Charles Lyell wrote to Huxley: "I do grudge Hardwicke very much having not only the publisher's but the author's profits...I would lose no time in considering well what steps to take to rescue the copyright of the 3rd thousand"
The actual subject of the lectures had not been hard for Huxley to determine. In a letter to Darwin on 10 October 1862 Huxley wrote: "I can't find anything to talk to the working men about this year but your book."
Charles Darwin himself appreciated the value of Huxley's lectures before he did, and was highly complimentary in his correspondence:
are simply perfect. They ought to be largely advertised; but it is
very good in me to say so, for I threw down No. IV with this
reflection, 'What is the good of my writing a thundering big book, when
everything is in this little green book so despicable for its size?'.
In the name of all that is good and bad I may as well shut up shop
Read the preface (from later issues) and the contents below.
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— • —
I. The Present Condition of Organic Nature ...
II. The Past Condition of Organic Nature . . . .
The Method by which the Causes of the Present and Past Conditions of
Organic Nature are to be Discovered. — The Origination of Living Beings
. . .
IV. The Perpetuation of Living Beings, Hereditary Transmission and Variation
V. The Conditions of Existence as affecting the Perpetuation of Living Beings
A Critical Examination of the Position of Mr. Darwin's "Work, " On the
Origin of Species," in relation to the complete Theory of the Causes
of the Phenomena of Organic Nature
[PREFACE TO LATER EDITIONS]
publication of Mr. Darwin's work on the "Origin of Species," whether
we consider the importance of the questions it raises, the ability with
which he treats them, the boldness and originality of his
speculations, or the profound and universal interest which the book
awakened, must be looked upon as marking an era in the progress of
science. But while it called forth a due share of candid discussion and
intelligent criticism, it has been vehemently and persistently
assailed by many who understood nothing of its real character ; and the
subject has hence been so overloaded with prejudice and perversion
that unscientific people hardly know what to think or believe about it.
In these circumstances, those who disencumber the subject of its
difficulties, simplify its statements, relieve it of technicalities,
and bring it so distinctly within the horizon of ordinary apprehension
that persons of common sense may judge for themselves, perform an
invaluable service. Such is the character of the present volume.
to the English edition, is the following note from Professor Huxley : "
Mr. J. Aldous Mays, who is taking shorthand notes of my ' Lectures to
Working Men,' has asked me to allow him, on his own account, to print
those notes for the use of my audience. I willingly accede to this
request, on the understanding that a notice is prefixed to the effect
that I have no leisure to revise the Lectures, or to make alterations
in them, beyond the correction of any important error in a matter of
The reader will not regret that the Lectures appear in
this form. Taken from the lips of the distinguished naturalist, as he
addressed an audience of ' Working Men,' they have a clearness, a
directness, and a simplicity which belonged to the circumstances of
their delivery. In this respect, the following Lectures are
incomparable. Dealing with the most abstruse and fundamental questions
of mind and organization, these subjects are nevertheless presented in
so lucid and attractive a manner as to impress vividly the commonest
The gift of translating the high questions of
science into popular forms of expression, without sacrificing accuracy
and introducing error, is a very rare one among scientific men, but
Professor Huxley possesses it in an eminent degree : his lectures are
models of their class.
On 12-Sep-13 at 04:40:34 BST, seller added the following information:
On 05-Jan-14 at 04:26:13 GMT, seller added the following information: