Book Description

1st Edition (first appearance in book form, the first translation from the original German, and the first appearance of Darwin's account of his grandfather), 8vo (18.5cm) iv + 216 pp, portrait, 2 full page text woodcuts. Original cloth, with restoration to upper inner corner of rear board. Original brown endpapers. Darwin's notice pp. 1-127. Krause's biography alone first published (in German) in Kosmos vol. 3, February 1879. Binding sound. Some wear to extremities. A little foxing to first and last leaves, but very clean throught. Slight off-setting from frontispiece to title page.
Dealer Notes
A sound copy of a very scarce Darwin title. Darwin was surprised at the time of publication that so few were sold (see below). This is almost certainly the scarcest title of Darwin's published by John Murray.

Erasmus Darwin (1731 –1802) was an English physician. One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosopher, physiologist, slave-trade abolitionist inventor and poet. His poems included much natural history, including a statement of evolution and the relatedness of all forms of life. Darwin was a founding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a discussion group of pioneering industrialists and natural philosophers. He turned down George III's invitation to be a physician to the King.

His grandson Charles Darwin mentions the key role he played in the publication of this particular book in his autobiography:
"In 1879, I had a translation of Dr. Ernst Krause's Life of Erasmus Darwin published, and I added a sketch of his character and habits from materials in my possession. Many persons have been much interested by this little life, and I am surprised that only 800 or 900 copies were sold. Owing to my having accidentally omitted to mention that Dr. Krause had enlarged and corrected his article in German before it was translated, Mr Samuel Butler abused me with almost insane virulence..."
Author Krause, Ernst [Charles Darwin]
Date 1879
Binding Publisher's Cloth
Publisher London, John Murray, 1879
Condition Very Good

Friends of the PBFA

For £10 get free entry to our fairs, updates from the PBFA and more.

Please email for more information


Membership of the PBFA is open to anyone who has been trading in antiquarian and second-hand books for a minimum of two years subject to certain criteria.

Email to find out more, or complete the enquiry form.

complete the form