This translation is based on the 1809 text of Lamarck's work (published in Paris). It follows Lamarck's text closely, keeping to the same structure of paragraphs. Footnotes here appear at the end of the chapters, rather than at the foot of the page, for obvious reasons.
Lamarck's style is generally very clear and straightforward, but it is also very loose and repetitive. It lacks much of the variety and grace which, for example, one finds in the scientific writing of his colleague Cuvier. One sometimes irritating feature of Lamarck's style is his tendency to use many words where two or three will convey the meaning just as well. In dealing with this feature, I have tried to render Lamarck's meaning precisely in a style which comes as close as possible to modern English, even if that means, at times, altering Lamarck's original phrasing (so, for example, rather than saying "They launch themselves into the bosom of the air" this translation states "They fly in the air"). However, it has not been possible to avoid the repetitiveness in many places.
I have derived help with a number of the technical terms from an earlier translation of Lamarck's work by Hugh Elliot (originally published in 1914).
I would certainly welcome any comments, corrections, and suggestions for improvement.
Liberal Studies Department
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