Huxley, Julian

Evolution. The Modern Synthesis

  • First edition, first impression. A very attractive copy of this key work by one of the leading author-scientists of the 20th century.

    “Huxley's major text on this theme, Evolution: the Modern Synthesis (1942), was an expansion of his 1936 British Association address 'Natural selection and evolutionary progress'. The title of the book linked the author's name with the term 'synthesis', and thus with this important phase in the development of evolutionary biology, for it was in the thirties that the new knowledge of the genetics of populations and of mutation were being brought into productive union with the doctrine of natural selection. Huxley began with a sketch of the changing fortunes of Darwinian evolution. He pointed to the weakness in the theory as presented by Darwin, singling out Darwin's mistaken views on heredity and variation. So clamorous had Darwin's critics become, wrote Huxley, that one could speak of the 'Eclipse' or 'Death' of Darwinism, a reaction that, he claimed, set in during the 1890s. However, in the two decades following the First World War, he said, Darwinism was reborn as the fruit of a process of synthesis [between traditional natural history and the emerging science of genetics]... The text is packed with information, and although Huxley had trained and carried out research as a zoologist, the work is noteworthy for the breadth of treatment and balance between the plant and animal kingdoms. Attending to plants as well as animals was just one example of the way in which his eclectic approach allowed him to adopt an open position on the significance of different sources of variation and the extent of gradualist evolution and by implication the extent of the creative action of natural selection” (ODNB).

  • London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1942.

    Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt, top edge dyed green. With the dust jacket. With the errata slip at page 343. Faint spotting to the cloth along the upper edges of the boards. A lovely, fresh copy in the lightly rubbed and dulled jacket with faded spine panel and a few small marks and a minor abrasion from the removal of a price ticket on the lower panel. Excellent condition.

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