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Letter 2659

Darwin, C. R. to Quatrefages de Bréau, J. L. A. de

21 Jan [1860]

    Summary Add

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    Discusses P. T. A. Talandier as possible translator [of Origin].

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    Comments on reception of book in North America and opposition of Louis Agassiz.

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    Asks about reaction of Henri Milne-Edwards.

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    QdeB's lectures on anthropology.

Transcription

Down Bromley Kent

Jan. 21st

My dear Sir

I am sorry to hear that you have been ill, & that you should have had the trouble of writing to me. I thank you cordially for all your great kindness. The gentleman who wishes to translate my Book is M. Talandier, Professor of French at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He was a procureur-general, & I imagine is an exile; but I hear on very good authority that he writes a remarkably good style, & is a very clever man. Should he not succeed in getting a Publisher, or for any reason change his mind, I will in that case venture to apply to you again. But I have no reason to doubt his success.

I have heard this morning from N. America that my Book is exciting considerable attention there amongst the naturalists. But I further hear that Agassiz is very savage at it.—

With my most sincere thanks for all your kindness, I remain, with much respect. My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. How I should like to know whether Milne Edwards has read the copy which I sent him & whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our side of the question. There is no naturalist in the world for whose opinion, I have so profound a respect. Of course I am not so silly as to expect to change his opinion.—

I did not understand in your former note whether your Lectures on Anthropology are published; but I shall soon know for I have sent to my Bookseller to procure them, if they are published.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2659.f1
    Dated by the reference to a French translation of Origin (see n. 2, below).
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    f2 2659.f2
    Pierre Th´eodore Alfred Talandier had written to CD offering to translate Origin into French (see letters to Edward Cresy, 15 January [1860] and 20 January [1860]). CD had previously asked Quatrefages de Br´eau whether he knew of anyone who might be willing to prepare a French translation (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. L. A. de Quatrefages de Br´eau, 5 December [1859]). Talandier's only published work was as co-author of a radical pamphlet, Lettre au Parlement et ´a la presse (London 1858).
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    f3 2659.f3
    Letter from Asa Gray, [10 January 1860]. See also following letter and letter to Asa Gray, 28 January [1860].
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    f4 2659.f4
    CD corresponded with Henri Milne-Edwards about crustacean embryology and development when he was composing his monograph on Cirripedia, and his work in this area had had a great impact on CD (see Correspondence vol. 4 and Appendix II). As a token of his esteem, CD had dedicated Living Cirripedia (1854) to him. So far as is known, Milne-Edwards never wrote to CD about Origin. In 1867, he discussed the importance of CD's theory for the development of general zoology and was generally positive, although he criticised aspects of the work, particularly the attempt to explain all species change on the basis of natural selection. See Milne-Edwards 1867, pp. 420--32.
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    f5 2659.f5
    Quatrefages de Br´eau's letter of 19 November 1859 has not been found, but see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. L. A. Quatrefages de Br´eau, 5 December [1859]. Quatrefages de Br´eau was appointed professor of the natural history of man at the Mus´eum d'histoire naturelle in Paris in 1855. His lectures on anthropology were published in Quatrefages de Br´eau 1867--8.
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