Charles Darwin, Journal of Researches, 1845.
Charles Darwin. Journal of Researches Into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World, Under the Command of Capt. Fitz Roy, R. N. Second edition. London: John Murray, 1845.
Originally published as the third volume of the traditional account of the results of the Beagle expedition, Darwin’s narrative garnered so much audience interest that he was able to publish it as a separate volume, first in 1839 and then again in 1845, revising passages in which he had still attributed the diversity he had encountered to some form of divine purpose. Note the attractive binding provided by John Murray’s Home and Colonial Library. The printing itself is cheap, with a rather small typeface and thin margins. The humor Darwin inserted into the narrative helped to make it a commercial success. Even more than with the now notorious finches, Darwin was fascinated with the marine iguanas he encountered on the Galápagos and the clumsy tortoises, which he surprised by riding on their back. In the passage that follows the woodcut shown here, Darwin portrays himself hurling iguanas into the water, where they refuse to stay. Clumsily they trundle back towards him, only to end up being thrown into the ocean again. Darwin attributes their stubbornness to a hereditary instinct that tells the animals that the ocean is the place where sharks lurk.
The volume marks the beginning of Darwin’s relationship with publisher John Murray, which lasted until the end of his life. It is dedicated to Charles Lyell, acknowledging the influence of the latter’s Principles of Geology on Darwin’s thought.