Journal of the History of Biology 40 (3):529 - 556 (2007)

Almost any modern reader's first encounter with Darwin's writing is likely to be the "Historical Sketch," inserted by Darwin as a preface to an early edition of the Origin of Species, and having since then appeared as the preface to every edition after the second English edition. The Sketch was intended by him to serve as a short "history of opinion" on the species question before he presented his own theory in the Origin proper. But the provenance of the "Historical Sketch" is somewhat obscure. Some things are known about its production, such as when it first appeared and what changes were made to it between its first appearance in 1860 and its final form, for the fourth English edition, in 1866. But how it evolved in Darwin's mind, why he wrote it at all, and what he thought he was accomplishing by prefacing it to the Origin remain questions that have not been carefully addressed in the scholarly literature on Darwin I attempt to show that Darwin's various statements about the "Historical Sketch," made primarily to several of his correspondents between 1856 and 1860, are somewhat in conflict with one another, thus making problematic a satisfactory interpretation of how, when, and why the Sketch came to be. I also suggest some probable resolutions to the several difficulties.
Keywords abstract  Baden Powell  “big species book”  Charles Lyell  Darwin’s priority  Historical Sketch  J.D. Hooker  plagiarism  T.H. Huxley
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DOI 10.1007/s10739-006-9118-0
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References found in this work BETA

The Triumph of the Darwinian Method.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 40 (3):466-467.
The Structure and Strategy of Darwin's ‘Long Argument’.M. J. S. Hodge - 1977 - British Journal for the History of Science 10 (3):237-246.

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Pluralizing Darwin: Making Counter-Factual History of Science Significant.Thierry Hoquet - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (1):115-134.

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