London: Edward Stanford, 1884. First edition, later printing of this introduction to biology for children that is “grounded in evolutionary theory” and employs a whimsical and “highly imaginative” writing style to engage its young audience (Oxford DNB). First published in 1880. It went through several other editions. With a frontispiece, one plate, and over a hundred text illustrations of insects and views through a microscope. Minor marginal toning. A very good, clean copy. The binding is bright and attractive. Publisher’s pictorial light brown cloth stamped in black and gilt. Beige floral endpapers. Octavo. xii, 312, [6, ads] pp. Item #17200
Arabella Burton Buckley (1840 – 1929) was a lecturer, editor, and writer specializing in evolutionary theory. Between 1864 and 1875, she worked as the secretary to the important geologist Charles Lyell, and then went on lecture on natural science between 1876 and 1888. She also edited Mary Somerville’s Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1877) and Heinrich Leutemann’s Animals from Life (1887). Her own works include A Short History of Natural Science (1876) and children’s science books like Winners in Life’s Race (1882) and The Fairy-Land of Science (1879).
“Buckley was one of a small number of nineteenth-century Darwinians who realized the deficiencies in Darwin’s thinking with regard to the development of moral qualities in the animal kingdom…Darwin had observed the competitive advantage species can gain from a well-developed social instinct but had difficulty in explaining its evolution, particularly with respect to parental affections for their offspring. Far from being daunted by this aspect of evolution, Buckley made parents’ care for their offspring central to her books on evolution and continued Darwin’s observations with far greater emphasis on mutuality. For her the raison d'être for evolution was not just the preservation of life, but the development of altruism as well,” (Oxford DNB).