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Huxley Presents Darwiniana to Hooker

HUXLEY, THOMAS HENRY. (English) Darwiniana

London: Macmillan, 1893

Original burgundy cloth. Some spotting to boards, spine rolled. Very good.

FIRST EDITION. A spectacular Darwin association copy, presented by Thomas Henry Huxley to Joseph Dalton Hooker, with an engraved “From the author” slip on the front pastedown above which is written “Sir J. D. Hooker.”

Huxley and Hooker were Darwin’s closest friends and allies in his attempt to formulate his evolutionary theories and convince the world of their merit. The men were part of the very small circle to whom Charles Darwin confided his theory of natural selection in the years prior to publication.

Darwin’s closest friend, Joseph Dalton Hooker was a founder of geographical botany and one of the greatest naturalists of the nineteenth century. Hooker was the first person to whom Darwin confided his theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin told Hooker, “it is like confessing a murder.” Hooker, together with Lyell, was responsible for the famous joint publication in 1858 by Darwin and Wallace.

Darwin and Huxley met in 1851, and two became friends and mutual supporters. Darwin recognized Huxley’s brilliance and ambition, and Darwin’s ideas gave focus to Huxley’s meteoric career. Huxley became “Darwin’s bulldog,” as he put it, tenaciously defending and promoting natural selection in a series of reviews and lectures, most famously in the debate with Bishop Wilberforce at Oxford in 1860.  Linked by their admiration for Darwin, Huxley and Hooker became good friends and candid correspondents, with Hooker becoming godfather to Huxley’s son.

This volume collects Huxley’s essays on Darwin including “The Darwinian Hypothesis” (1859), “The Origin of Species” (1860), “Criticisms on ‘The Origin of Species’” (1864), “Mr. Darwin’s Critics” (1871), “The Coming of Age of ‘The Origin of Species’” (1880), and others. This is the second in the series of nine volumes of Huxley’s essays published by Macmillan in 1893-4.

Huxley wrote, “I have entitled this volume ‘Darwiniana’ because the pieces republished in it either treat of the ancient doctrine of Evolution, rehabilitated and placed upon a sound scientific foundation, since and in consequence of, the publication of the ‘Origin of Species;’ or they attempt to meet the more weighty of the unsparing criticisms with which that great work was visited for several years after its appearance; or they record the impression left by the personality of Mr. Darwin on one who had the privilege and the happiness of enjoying his friendship for some thirty years; or they endeavour to sum up his work and indicate its enduring influence on the course of scientific thought.”
This is a splendid association copy linking Darwin’s greatest supporters.

Provenance: 1. T. H. Huxley, engraved “From the Author” presentation plate on front pastedown, presented to 2. Joseph Dalton Hooker, with his name evidently in a publisher’s clerk’s hand; 3. P. J. Kipp, Dutch scientific instrument firm, with small oval blind stamp on front free endpaper.