DARWIN, Charles. A fine, personal autograph letter, signed in full (‘Charles Darwin’). To the author of Problèmes de la Nature, Auguste Laugel, thanking him for the receipt of a copy of his recently published work Les Problèmes de la Nature, and explaining that he has not yet been able to read it due to protracted illness. Down, Bromley, Kent, 4 September, .
A fine letter from Darwin to the French engineer and geologist Auguste Laugel, who had published a major review of Darwin’s Origin in the literary journal La Revue des Deux Mondes in 1860, a review that radically challenged the concept of species then current in France.
'Auguste Laugel’s defense of Darwin in the literary journal La Revue des Deux Mondes – which had published Les fleurs du mal a few years earlier – summarized the main theoretical innovations of Darwin’s evolutionism, namely his concept of natural selection and his emphasis on the “transitionary characters” of species, an understanding that radically challenged the concept of species then current in France. Laugel’s was key to circulating Darwin’s ideas, particularly his challenges to the exceptional status of human beings by deflating qualitative distinctions between humans and animals’ (J. Dubino, Z. Rashidian, and A. Smyth, Representing the Modern Animal in Culture, 2014).
[GRAY, Asa]. Darwin and his reviewers [in: The Atlantic Monthly]. Boston, Ticknor and Fields, and London, Trubner and Company, October, 1860.
First edition of this very early article on Darwin and Darwinism by Asa Gray, published three months after his essay Darwin and the Origin of Species.
‘The Atlantic has been commenting on the conflict between evolution theory and religious fundamentalism since Darwin first published his ground-breaking treatise in the nineteenth century. Almost immediately after the debut of The Origin of Species, Asa Gray reviewed the book in “Darwin on the Origin of Species” (July 1860) … Gray explained that he found Darwin’s theory persuasive for several reasons: all species have some variation within them, similar species tend to be found in locations geographically proximate to one another, and new research was revealing the earth to be far older than the few thousand years previously believed’ (Elizabeth Dougherty in: The Atlantic, August 2005 issue).
‘The origin of species, like all origination, like the institution of any other natural state or order, is beyond our immediate ken. We see or may learn how things go on; we can only frame hypotheses as to how they began’ (Asa Gray, ‘Darwin and his reviewers’, The Atlantic, pp. 406-407, October 1860, no. 36).
DUBOIS, Eugène [Eugen]. Pithecanthropus erectus; Eine menschenaehnliche Uebergangsform aus Java. Von Eug. Dubois, Militairarzt der niederlaendisch-indischen Armee. Batavia, Landesdruckerei, 1894.
First edition, the announcement of the discovery of homo erectus, printed in a small print run Batavia, now Jakarta, and here accompanied by a most coherent group of 26 very rare further publications by Dubois on comparative anatomy.
Appointed lecturer in anatomy at the University of Amsterdam (1886), Dubois investigated the comparative anatomy of the larynx in vertebrates but became increasingly interested in human evolution. In 1887 he went to the East Indies as a military surgeon and, on the island of Sumatra, began to excavate caves in search of remains of early hominins.
Although hominid fossils had been found and studied before, Dubois was the first anthropologist to embark upon a purposeful search for them.