Wednesday 11 March 2009


The 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 has led to a few publishers putting out commemorative editions of this great work.

Vintage UK has this appealing version:

Penguin Classics, meanwhile, has put out a newly edited clothbound hardback with an illustration by Damien Hirst mounted on the cover. I usually can't stand Hirst, and in fact this illustration shows the limitations of his ability to actually draw, yet the overall effect is quite pleasing (click for a bigger version to get the full texture of the thing).

If I could find my huge old colour-illustrated edition I'd post that too, but it's in a box somewhere, and I lack the strength for archaeology at the moment. Instead, here's another nature-leaning new edition of an old classic, John Stewart Collis's The Worm Forgives the Plough, his collected observations and memoirs of life on the land during World War II. It has a nicely retro feel to it.

The Vintage Darwin, by the way, also reminds me of this gorgeous hardback from the Library of America. It's American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau.

That undersized jacket slips off to reveal these beautiful boards (photo pinched from here).

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