LYELL, Charles

A Manual of Elementary Geology: or, The Ancient Changes of the Earth and its Inhabitants as illustrated by Geological Monuments. Fourth and Entirely Revised Edition [of the Elements of Geology].

Published: London: John Murray

Date: 1852

tall 8vo vi, (vii)-xxii ('Postscript'), xxii-xxxi, [1 (advt.)], 512pp., 500 wood-engraved illustrations throughout text, original decoratively woven brown cloth, large image of a fossil in gilt at centre of front board, sides with a broad decorative border blocked in blind, spine gilt lettered and decoratively blind blocked, trifling wear at ends of spine, very good bright copy.

Inscribed on front endpaper "Dunraven-/ July 1853" and with a few minor notes in his hand. From the library of the Earl of Dunraven, Adare Manor, Co. Limerick with his pencilled shelf number on the corner of the front endpaper.

The Elements of Geology, first published in 1838, was intended to be a brief descriptive, as distinct from a theoretical, work. But in it Lyell took for granted the theoretical viewpoint he had already established in his landmark Principles of Geology, namely that geological phenomena could be explained completely in terms of natural and knowable causes, and his book was "a model of simple, lucid exposition" [D.S.B.]. For the second edition of 1841 he greatly expanded the book by, among other things, transferring to it from his Principles his discussion of Tertiary formations. For the third edition, 1851, he changed the title to A Manual of Elementary Geology and made considerable additions and revisions but did not alter the basic plan of the book. "In consequence of the rapid sale of the third edition of the Manual .. a new edition has been called for in less than a twelvemonth. Even in this short interval some new facts of unusual importance in palaeontology have come to light, or been verified for the first time. Instead of introducing these new discoveries into the body of the work, which would render them inaccessible to purchasers of the former edition, I have given them in a postscript to this Preface (printed and sold separately), and have pointed out at the same time their bearing on certain questions of the highest theoretical interest" [Lyell in Preface]. The 'Postscript' was available separately for 6 pence. Lyell retained the title of Manual for the fifth edition, 1855, but returned to the original Elements title with the sixth edition, 1865. The Earl of Dunraven, of Adare outside Limerick, a man of wide scientific, social, and historical interests, and a F.R.S., probably knew the author.


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