Remnants of Time: ⏳ 8

By the end of 1859, Whitwell Elwin, editor of the Quarterly Review, a respected British journal, was sent an advance copy of the a new book by the naturalist Charles Darwin. Elwin read the book with interest, and agreed that it had merit, but feared that the subject matter was too narrow to attract a wide audience. He urged Darwin to write a book about pigeons instead. ‘Everyone is interested in pigeons,’ he observed helpfully.

An auspicious fact: Darwin was born on the same day and year as Lincoln.

Elwin’s sage advice was ignored and On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was published in late November 1859, priced at 15 shillings. The first edition of 1,250 copies sold out on the first day. It has never been out of print, and scarcely out of controversy, in all the time since—not bad going for a man whose principal other interest was earthworms and who, but for a single impetuous decision to sail around the world, would very probably have passed his life as an anonymous country parson known for—well, for an interest in earthworms.

¡Oh yes! I remember now…

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