The Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects

Price: 465.00 USD

New York: D. Appleton, 1892. A virtually pristine example of one of Darwin's scarcer titles. 8vo: xvi,300,[8]pp, with 38 text woodcuts. Publisher's terra-cotta cloth, upper cover stamped in black and lower cover in blind with edge roll and trailing vine device, spine ruled and lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, cream colored end papers. Top edge dust-soiled, pages very lightly toned, but a spectacular, unread survival. Freeman 802. Second Edition, revised, from the stereotypes of the second London edition. (But effectively the first American edition, since no first edition was issued in the United States.) According to Asa Gray, the most important nineteen-century American botanist, "If the Orchid-book (with a few trifling omissions) had appeared before the 'Origin,' the author would have been canonised rather than anathematised by the natural theologians," and he notes that a review in the Literary Churchman found only one fault, "that Mr. Darwin's expression of admiration at the contrivances in orchids is too indirect a way of saying, 'O Lord, how manifold are Thy works.'" Darwin himself wrote to John Murray on September 24th, 1861, "I think this little volume will do good to the "Origin", as it will show that I have worked hard at details." Orchids "was concerned with working out in detail the relationships between sexual structures of orchids and the insects which fertilise them, their evolution being attributed to natural selection. It is therefore the first of the volumes of supporting evidence. It was much praised by botanists, but sold only about 6,000 copies before the turn of the century." (Freeman) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.). Early Reprint. Fine.


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