In an age of desperately low wages for many working people, Charles Darwin pushed his publisher hard to cut the selling price of Origin of Species.
Darwin had been moved by letters from workers who could not afford the book or who needed to pool their money to buy and share a single copy between several people.
Shrugging off warnings from his publisher about reduced royalties from sales, Darwin triumphed when the price of the sixth edition of the famous book was halved – the publisher saved part of the cost by printing the work in a smaller font.The sixth edition was no mere reprint. Remarkably, it was in this edition that Darwin began using the word “evolution” for the first time. The word had been used in the same sense by Darwin’s friend Charles Lyell in his 1832 work Principles of Geology.
The idea that species evolve had become mainstream science by the time of the sixth edition. The concept of natural selection was less accepted.
Charles Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had earlier made some eye-catching contributions to evolutionary theory, including the idea that all life has a common origin.
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