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Darwin's on the Origin of SpeciesDarwin's on the Origin of Species

A Modern Rendition

Daniel Duzdevich

Narrated by James Romick

Available from Audible

Book published by Indiana University Press

Charles Darwin’s most famous book On the Origin of Species is without question, one of the most important books ever written. While even the grandest works of Victorian English can prove difficult to modern readers, Darwin wrote his text in haste and under intense pressure. For an era in which Darwin is more talked about than read, Daniel Duzdevich offers a clear, modern English rendering of Darwin’s first edition. Neither an abridgement nor a summary, this version might best be described as a “translation” for contemporary English readers. A monument to reasoned insight, the Origin illustrates the value of extensive reflection, carefully gathered evidence, and sound scientific reasoning. By removing the linguistic barriers to understanding and appreciating the Origin, this edition aims to bring 21st-century readers into closer contact with Darwin’s revolutionary ideas.

Daniel Duzdevich is a biologist, studying the interactions between proteins and DNA. Duzdevich received an award from the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans in 2012.


“Students have great difficulty understanding Darwin's Origin—as do many trained biologists.... Daniel Duzdevich's modern rendition of the 1859 text is a most useful addition to the general understanding of this major revision in biology. He has presented a full account of Darwin's ideas in the original and in a form that makes them far more understandable to the reader who is not a specialist in evolutionary theory.”

—Walter Bock, Columbia University

“This modernized version provided by Daniel Duzdevich, a doctoral student of biology at Columbia University, doesn’t meddle with Darwin’s theories or basic exposition and so his edited Origin remains a weighty trek, but he has made the way a lot smoother.”

—i>Foreword Reviews

“There is a long tradition of 'translating' or retelling works in the humanities—Charles Lamb's prose versions of Shakespeare's plays and the multiple renderings of the Bible into modern English come immediately to mind. This book may be a first for a scientific work, where an attempt is made to translate a text almost line-by-line and preserve each point in the original. Duzdevich has done a nice job indeed. Even for those who have read the Origin many times, this retelling has the ability to change one's focus, so to speak, and in so doing reinvigorate elements of the original text.”

—James T. Costa, author of The Annotated Origin

“The first thing I learned in college is that every generation needs its own translation of Homer’s epics. I was taken aback, but soon saw the wisdom of that aphorism. A few years later, I struggled with Darwin’s Victorian prose; the language barrier posed by the original Origin of Species added to my doubts that I could wrap my untutored mind around the great man’s thoughts. Duzdevich’s rendering of Darwin’s epic into modern English is as meaningful a contribution as Lattimore’s then-modern translation of the Iliad. May this ‘translation’ attract many more readers to Darwin’s founding statement of evolution!"”

—Niles Eldredge, Curator Emeritus, The American Museum of Natural History and author of Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks