The Origin of Species
By Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life
Publication Date: August 11, 1998
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Introduction by Edward J. Larson
Perhaps the most readable and accessible of the great works of scientific inquiry, The Origin of Species sold out its first printing on the very day it was published in 1859. Theologians quickly labeled Charles Darwin the most dangerous man in England and, as the Saturday Review noted, the uproar over the book quickly “passed beyond the bounds of the study and lecture-room into the drawing-room and the public street.” Based largely on Darwin’s experience as a naturalist while on a five-year voyage aboard H. M. S. Beagle, The Origin of Species set forth a theory of evolution and natural selection that challenged contemporary beliefs about divine providence and the immutability of species. This Modern Library edition includes a Foreword by the Pulitzer Prize–winning science historian Edward J. Larson, an introductory historical sketch, and a glossary Darwin later added to the original text.
Edward J. Larson is a professor of history and law at Pepperdine University and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of "Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion" and several other books.