Contemporary interest in Darwin rises from a general ideal of what Darwin’s books ought to contain: a theory of transformation of species by natural selection. However, a reader opening Darwin’s masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, today may be struck by the fact that this "selectionist" view does not deliver the key to many aspects of the book. Without contesting the importance of natural selection to Darwinism, much less supposing that a fully-formed "Darwinism" stepped out of Darwin’s head in 1859, this innovative volume aims to return to the text of the Origin itself.

Revisiting the 'Origin of Species' focuses on Darwin as theorising on the origin of variations; showing that Darwin himself was never a pan-selectionist (in contrast to some of his followers) but was concerned with "other means of modification" (which makes him an evolutionary pluralist). Furthermore, in contrast to common textbook presentations of "Darwinism", Hoquet stresses the fact that On the Origin of Species can lend itself to several contradictory interpretations. Thus, this volume identifies where rival interpretations have taken root; to unearth the ambiguities readers of Darwin have latched onto as they have produced a myriad of Darwinian legacies, each more or less faithful enough to the originator’s thought.

Emphasising the historical features, complexities and intricacies of Darwin’s argument, Revisiting the 'Origin of Species' can be used by any lay readers opening Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This volume will also appeal to students and researchers interested in areas such as Evolution, Natural Selection, Scientific Translations and Origins of Life.

chapter |20 pages


The meanings of “Darwinism”

part I|2 pages

Darwin-the-Selectionist and beyond

chapter 1|23 pages

A labyrinthine Origin

chapter 3|24 pages

“One long argument”?


part II|3 pages


chapter 4|11 pages


Chance and laws of variation

chapter 5|20 pages


Are all variations useful?

part III|2 pages

Radical origins

chapter 7|13 pages

“Mystery of mysteries”

157The temptation of origin

chapter 8|17 pages

“Originally breathed”

Or on the origin of life

chapter 9|12 pages

“Light will be thrown”

Or on the origin of mankind

chapter |8 pages


Darwinisms or Darwin diffracted