Geology of The Voyage of The Beagle
In his autobiography Darwin recalled the origins of this work:
The geology of St. Jago is very striking yet simple: a stream of lava formerly flowed over the bed of the sea, formed of triturated recent shells and corals, which it has baked into a hard white rock. Since then the whole island has been upheaved. But the line of white rock revealed to me a new and important fact, namely that there had been afterwards subsidence round the craters, which had since been in action, and had poured forth lava. It then first dawned on me that I might perhaps write a book on the geology of the various countries visited, and this made me thrill with delight. That was a memorable hour to me, and how distinctly I can call to mind the low cliff of lava beneath which I rested, with the sun glaring hot, a few strange desert plants growing near, and with living corals in the tidal pools at my feet.
I record in a little diary, which I have always kept, that my three geological books (Coral Reefs included) consumed four and a half years' steady work; "and now it is ten years since my return to England. How much time have I lost by illness?" I have nothing to say about these three books except that to my surprise new editions have lately been called for.
John van Wyhe
Bibliographical introduction by R. B. Freeman
The three parts of Darwin's geological results of the Beagle voyage were separately published over a period of five years, but they were intended, and described on the title pages, as parts of one work. They were all published by Smith Elder, with the approval of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, some of the £1,000 given for the publication of the results of the voyage going towards the cost of at least the first part. Darwin notes, in May 1842, that the cost of Coral reefs was £130-140 and that 'the government money has gone much quicker than I thought'. By that date there were only two parts of the Zoology of the Beagle still to come out. Smith Elder also published the important later editions.
A publisher's advertisement of 1838 announced the preparation of a work in one volume octavo entitled Geological observations on volcanic islands and coral formations, but this plan was abandoned and the first part, Coral reefs, appeared in May 1842, at a cost of 15s. The second part, Volcanic islands, was published in November 1844, at a cost of 10s. 6d. The one folding map is of Ascension Island and is dated 1825. The third, South America, was published late in 1846, at a cost of 12s. Coral reefs has two lines of errata on p.  and South America three lines on p. viii.
In Coral reefs, the last leaf (Q2) advertises the two other projected parts on the recto and the, then unfinished, Zoology of the Beagle on the verso. There are sixteen pages of inserted publisher's advertisements, dated May 1842, in some copies. Volcanic islands may have twenty-four pages of inserted publisher's advertisements, dated January 1844, and South America thirty-two pages dated 1846. The last text page of the latter [p. 280] advertises the, now completed, Geology and Zoology. All three parts were published in blue or purple cloth, the latter fading to brown. The blue bindings, which are probably earlier, usually, perhaps always, have the price in gilt on the spine, and this is sometimes present on the purple cloth.
In 1851, the three parts were reissued in one volume. The old pagination was retained although the title and half-title leaves of the parts were discarded and replaced by a new general title leaf. This issue is clearly a remainder made up from unsold sheets and priced at 10s. 6d. I have seen it in both blue and purple cloth with sixteen pages of inserted advertisements dated June 1851, and in purple cloth with slightly different spine lettering with advertisements, dated September 18th, 1856 or May 1st, 1858.
A second edition of Coral reefs appeared in 1874; it was extensively revised and largely rewritten in the light of the findings of Dana and of Jukes. The other two parts appeared in a single volume in 1876 which is called a second edition. The text however was not altered although a few new references are given in the preface. No further editions or issues were published in Darwin's lifetime, but a third edition of Coral reefs appeared in 1889, and a third edition of the other two parts in 1891. The text of the former was edited by T. G. Bonney to the extent of adding footnotes as well as a large appendix bringing the matter up to date. The latter is only a title page edition with some resetting. These four volumes all appeared in a green cloth binding, closely resembling that of Murray Darwins and with the same device on the spine. I have also seen the second in brown cloth, with the same gilt stampings, and it is possible that the others also occur in this form.
All three parts of the first edition were reprinted in Ward Lock's Minerva Series, later World Series, but have not appeared since 1910. Coral reefs alone was republished from the first edition in 1962 and a facsimile edition appeared in 1969. Facsimile editions of late American printings, 1896 and 1897, appeared in 1972. These geological works have been little translated. In Darwin's lifetime, all three appeared in German and Coral reefs in French and in a Russian précis.
"Early in 1863 the correspondence shows Darwin buying up nearly all reminders of the two latter books [i.e. Volcanic islands and South America], seventy-six and ninety-nine books, for five pounds" – Leonard Huxley p. 22 in 1923 The house of Smith Elder, London, for private circulation, William Clowes printed.
Darwin, C. R. 1842. The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London: Smith Elder and Co. Text Image Text & image PDF F271 Introduction by Gordon Chancellor.
Darwin, C. R. 1844. Geological observations on the volcanic islands visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, together with some brief notices of the geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Being the second part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London: Smith Elder and Co. Text Image Text & image PDF F272 Introduction by Gordon Chancellor.
Darwin, C. R. 1846. Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London: Smith Elder and Co.Text Images Text & image PDF F273 Introduction by Gordon Chancellor.
Darwin, C. R. 1876. Geological observations on the volcanic islands and parts of South America visited during the voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle'. 2d edition. London: Smith Elder and Co. Text Image Text & image PDF F276
Darwin, C. R. 1889. The structure and distribution of coral reefs. 3d edition. With a preface to the third edition by Francis Darwin and an appendix by T. G. Bonney. London: Smith Elder and Co. Text Image PDF F277
Darwin, C. R. 1890. On the structure and distribution of coral reefs; also geological observations on the volcanic islands and parts of South America visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. (With critical introductions to each part by J. W. Judd) London: Ward Lock (Minerva Library No. 18). Text Image Text & image PDF (Introductions by Judd only) F279
Darwin, C. R. 1877. Geologische Beobachtungen über die Vulcanischen Inseln mit kurzen Bemerkungen über die Geologie von Australien und dem Cap der Guten Hoffnung. Translated by J. V. Carus. Stuttgart: Schweizerbart.Text Image PDF (Provided by http://www.biolib.de/) F312
Darwin, C. R. 1878. Geologische Beobachtungen über Süd-Amerika. Translated by J. V. Carus. Stuttgart: Schweizerbart (Collected Works, Vol. 12, part 1)Text Image PDF (Provided by http://www.biolib.de/) F313
NOTE: With thanks to The Charles Darwin Trust and Dr Mary Whitear for use of the Bibliographical Handlist. Copyright. All rights reserved. For private academic use only. Not for republication or reproduction in whole or in part without the prior written consent of The Charles Darwin Trust, 14 Canonbury Park South London N1 2JJ.
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