Darwin’s publications

In the ten years following the voyage Darwin’s notes and diaries furnished him with the raw material for more than twenty articles, for his contributions to The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle, which he edited, and for Journal of Researches (1839), an entertaining account of the voyage which became one of the world’s best-selling travel books. Many years later, when reviewing his publications in his Autobiography (1876), he remarked how the success of Journal of Researches, which he called his first literary child, tickled his vanity ‘more than that of any of my other books’.

Darwin’s initial thoughts on species appear in the Beagle notes. He began writing a “Big book” on species in 1856, but in 1858 he received a letter from the naturalist and collector Alfred Russel Wallace describing similar ideas.  As a result, Darwin hastily commenced On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a condensed version of his theory, published in 1859. Only a few manuscript leaves remain, many apparently preserved by the family not for their own sake but because of the sketches by his children on the back.