On the Origin of Species
  • Publication Date: March 28, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551113371 / 1551113376
  • 672 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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On the Origin of Species

  • Publication Date: March 28, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551113371 / 1551113376
  • 672 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, in which he writes of his theories of evolution by natural selection, is one of the most important works of scientific study ever published.

This unabridged edition also includes a rich selection of primary source material: substantial selections from Darwin’s other works (Autobiography, notebooks, letters, Voyage of the Beagle, and The Descent of Man) and selections from Darwin’s sources and contemporaries (excerpts from Genesis, Paley, Lamarck, Spencer, Lyell, Malthus, Huxley, and Wallace).


“This edition of The Origin of Species is a welcome addition to the field. This volume brings together all the important primary material necessary to understanding Darwin and his milieu, giving students of Victorian science and the history of evolutionary biology a wonderful resource. Carroll combines Darwin’s own work—including excerpts from his notebooks and letters, as well as appropriate passages from The Descent of Man—with excerpts from important precursors, supporters, and fellow scientists. The edition, in bringing all these materials together for the first time, is invaluable.” — Lesley B. Cormack, University of Alberta

“A pioneer in applying Darwinian thought to the analysis of literary texts, Joseph Carroll makes the Darwinian revolution beautifully intelligible in this edition by providing both a fine introduction and an illuminating collection of historical materials.” — Don Brown, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Joseph Carroll, a pre-eminent Darwinian in the humanities and a world-class scholar, has produced a definitive edition of The Origin of Species, with a generous selection of other writings by Darwin and related authors. The critical and historical introduction—almost a small book in itself—is a major accomplishment, so well written, well informed, and altogether intelligent. The volume as a whole will be invaluable.” — Harold Fromm, University of Arizona



  1. The Classic Status of The Origin of Species
  2. Plan of the Introduction
  3. Darwin’s Subject
  4. The Historical Moment of The Origin of Species
  5. Darwin’s Intellectual Character
  6. The Lamarckian and Spencerian Alternative to Darwinism
  7. The Inception and Gestation of Darwin’s Theory
  8. Darwin’s Evolutionary Psychology
  9. The Nature of the Darwinian Revolution
  10. Recommendations for Further Reading
  11. Works Cited and Source Texts

Charles Darwin: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

  • An Historical Sketch of the Progress of Opinion on
    the Origin of Species
    Glossary of the Principal Scientific Terms Used
    in the Present Volume

Appendix A: From The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

Appendix B: From Voyage of the Beagle: Excerpts from Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle (1839; 2nd ed. 1845)

Appendix C: From Darwin’s Notebooks

Appendix D: From the 1844 Manuscript

  1. Francis Darwin’s Description of the Manuscript
  2. Extract from a Chapter on Natural Selection

Appendix E: Letters

Appendix F: From The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)

Appendix G: Contextual Materials

  1. Creationism and Natural Theology
    1. The First Book of Moses called GENESIS
    2. William Paley, from Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, collected from the appearances of nature (1802)
  2. Pre-Darwinian Speculations on Evolution: Lamarck and Spencer
    1. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, from Zoological Philosophy (1809)
    2. Herbert Spencer
      1. From Social Statics (1851)
      2. From First Principles (1862)
      3. From Principles of Biology (1864), vol. 1, part 3, chapter 12
      4. From Autobiography (1904)
  3. Thomas Malthus, from An Essay on the Principle of Population (6th ed., 1826)
  4. Charles Lyell, from Principles of Geology (1830-33)
  5. The Co-Discovery of Natural Selection: Alfred Russel Wallace, “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type” (1858)
  6. Thomas Henry Huxley on the Historical Situation of The Origin of Species
    1. From “Evolution in Biology” (1878)
    2. From The Origin of Species (1860)
    3. From “Criticisms on The Origin of Species” (1864)
    4. From “Charles Darwin” (1882)
    5. From “On the Reception of The Origin of Species” (1887)

Register of Names

Index to the Introduction, Darwin’s Historical Sketch, and the Appendices

Joseph Carroll a Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has published widely on Darwin and his influence.