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Letter 3619

Bronn, H. G. to Darwin, C. R.

21 June 1862

    Summary Add

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    L. C. Treviranus inclined to translate Orchids, but "unfortunately" HGB has already done it. Book's discussion of plant sexuality important for zoology as well as botany.

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    Origin is in press. Attaches a list of "quelques petites difficultées" encountered in his translation.

Transcription

Heidelberg

le 21 Juin 1862

Monsieur!

Je viens de recevoir une lettre de Mr. Schweizerbart, où il m'avertit, que Monsieur Treviranus est disposé à traduire vôtre excellent volume sur les Orchidées. Vous n'auriez pû trouver un meilleur traducteur pour introduire Vôtre livre en Allemagne, et je Vous en aurois felicité de tout mon coeur. Mais je suis désesperé de Vous dire, que la traduction est faite jusqu'à la page 306.

Monsieur Schweizerbart m'avoit prié de la faire. Je lui ai repondu, que j'ÿ serois disposé, s'il ne trouveroit pas un traducteur, dont le nom en qualité de botaniste pourroit être avantageux pour le succès du livre, et sous la condition, qu'il pourroit me confier le travail si-tôt, que je pourrois encore en finir avant la fin du mois de Juin, parceque j'avois déjà disposé des mois de Juillet et d'Août. Il me repondit aussitôt, qu'il désireroit de recevoir la traduction sitôt que possible, et `ainsi j'ÿ ai travaillé jour et nuit, pour repondre à Vôtre voeu de voir une traduction Allemande de vos Orchidées et à ses intentions de publier bientôt cette traduction!

J'avois consenti à faire la traduction, parceque je considérois ce travail comme un complément de ``l'Origin''; j'esperois de connoître en cette manière plus complêtement vos vues, que par la lecture passagère du livre, et je pensois ainsi instruire moi même d'une manière plus fondamentale. Je fis m'apporter du hot-house de nôtre jardin botanique quelques espèces d'Orchidées, qui ètoient en fleur pour les étudier et comparer avec Vos descriptions. Après avoir commencé la traduction, je sentis bientôt tendu mon ésprit au plus haut degré par l'interêt que m'apportoit continuellement la lecture de vos observations et des conclusions que vous en avez tirées. Et dejà j'allois vous écrire pour quelques petites difficultées, qui s'étoient offertes à ma traduction et dont Vous trouverez la liste si-jointe. Mais avec tout l'interêt, que m'ont inspiré Vos recherches sur les rélations sexuelles des végétaux hermaphrodites et qui sont également importantes pour mes études zoologiques, j'avoue que je sens parfaitement bien comme je ne saurois pas remplacer un traducteur-botaniste du mérite de M. Treviranus, sous les mains duquel l'édition Allemande auroit dû gagner considérablement vis-à-vis de la mienne.

Monsieur Schweizerbart auroit dejà commencé l'impression, s'il n'auroit été en attente des copies des xylographies. ``L'origin'' est sous presse.

Veuillez bien excuser, Monsieur, si cette fois mes intentions n'ont pas été si avantageuses non seulement pour Vos publications, mais encore, il faut l'avouer, pour la science même, comme je l'avois désiré et espéré en me chargeant d'un travail, qui au moins pour moi même est des plus attirants et des plus instructifs.

Veuillez aggréer, Monsieur, l'expression de la considération distinguée, avec laquelle j'ai l'honeur d'être | Vôtre | très devoué | H. G. Br<onn>



[Enclosure: 1]

[DIAG HERE]

Darwin Orchids

pag. 22, fg. III: (l') manque dans la figure

pag. 171: india-rubber-band: qu'est ce que c'est, je ne

trouve nulle part ce terme

pag. 254: cocket-hat: non plus!

pag. 272, fg. XXXI: (a') manque dans la figure.

pag. 285Homopterous Insects. nous comprenons (enAllemagne) tout généralement sous ce nom une partie des Hemiptera ou Rhynchota, et quoique il ÿ ait là quelques formes assez particulières (Fulgora), je ne sais pas, si les formes souvent phantastiques des Orthoptères tropiques ne serviroient pas beaucoup mieux à Votre comparaison?

Anther-case: y-a-t-il un terme botanique pour cette expression? Je ne sais pas toujours, si c'est le propre paroi des anthères, ou la cavité, qui les entoure?

pag. 104, ligne 4: renewed doit ètre removed??

(pag 292, fg. XXXII. et suiv.) group of spiral-vessels: cette expression, peût-elle être rendue par Spiralgefäss-Bündel, c.à.d. bundle of spiral vessels,—ou est ce qu'un group peût contenir plusieurs bundles? (nous sommes très accoutumés à l'usage du mot Gefäss-Bündel)—)

—Dans la description page 292 et suivantes, y est il toujours soutenu la distinction entre group of vessels et ce qui seroit très important vessels ? à savoir pour le ``general reader''

—Enfin il me paroit, qu'il seroit de beaucoup d'utilité, également pour le general reader, d'avoir un tout petit tableau (remplissant une page seulement) de la composition de la famille entière des Orchids, de ses tribus, sub-tribus et des genres les plus importants (suivant Lindley?) pour le faire une juste idée des affinités des genres, dont il rencontre les noms isolés. Le botaniste n'en a pas besoin.

Translation

Heidelberg

21 June 1862

Sir,

I have just received a letter from Mr. Schweizerbart telling me that Mr. Treviranus is willing to translate your excellent volume on the Orchids. You could not have found a better translator to introduce your book into Germany, and I would have congratulated you with all my heart. But I am distressed to tell you that the translation is done up to page 306.

Mr Schweizerbart had asked me to do it. I replied that I would be happy to do so if he could not find a translator whose good name as a botanist would be advantageous for the success of the book, and on condition that he would entrust the work to me quickly enough so that I could finish it before the end of June since I was already committed for the months of July and August. He replied that for his part he wished to receive the translation as soon as possible, and so I have worked on it day and night, in order to respond to your wish to see a German translation of your Orchids and to his intention to publish this translation soon!

I had consented to do the translation as I considered this work as a complement to the ``Origin''; I hoped in this way to reach a more complete understanding of your views than through a passive reading of the book, and I thought thus to teach myself in a more fundamental manner. I had brought to me, from the hothouse of our botanical garden, some species of Orchids that were in bloom, in order to study and compare them with your descriptions. After having begun the translation, I soon felt my mind stretched to the highest degree by the interest that reading your observations and the conclusions that you have drawn from them continually inspires in me. And now, I wanted to write to you about some minor difficulties that transpired during the course of my translation, the list of which you find attached here. But with all the interest that your researches on the sexual relations of hermaphroditic plants have inspired in me, researches that are equally important for my zoological studies, I admit that I am perfectly aware that I cannot replace a translator-botanist of Mr. Treviranus's merit, in whose hands any German edition would be bound to gain considerably vis-à-vis my own.

Mr Schweizerbart will have already started the printing, if he has not been awaiting copies of the woodcuts. The `Origin' is in press.

Please excuse me, Sir, if this time my intentions have not been so advantageous either for your publications, or it must be said for science itself, as I had wished and hoped by charging myself with a task that is, at least for myself, one of the most attractive and instructive.

Please accept, Sir, the expression of my distinguished consideration, with which I have the honour to be | Your | very devoted | H. G. Br<onn>

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 3619.f1
    For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix I.
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    f2 3619.f2
    Bronn refers to Christian Friedrich Schweizerbart, head of E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, the Stuttgart publishing firm that was preparing to publish a German edition of Orchids (see letter from H. G. Bronn, 27 March 1862, and letter from E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 7 June 1862). CD had apparently written on 18 June 1862 to ask Ludolph Christian Treviranus, professor of botany at the University of Bonn, whether he would be prepared to translate Orchids for this edition. However, having learned that Bronn had nearly completed a translation of the book, CD wrote to inform Treviranus of this on 24 June. See letter from F. H. G. Hildebrand, 14 July 1862, and Correspondence vol. 11, letter from L. C. Treviranus, 12 February 1863. CD's letters to Treviranus of June 1862 have not been found.
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    f3 3619.f3
    Treviranus was well known in Germany for his botanical publications. He was familiar with CD's views as they pertained to botanical problems. In his review of Joseph Dalton Hooker's Flora Tasmaniæ (J. D. Hooker 1855--60), where Hooker discussed CD's views on species as they related to the question of the geographical distribution of plants, Treviranus was critical of CD's ideas about the advantages to plants of cross-pollination (see Treviranus 1861; see also Junker 1989, pp. 143--4). CD was apparently unaware of Treviranus's review: there is no copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL, and CD made no mention of it in his extant correspondence. For Treviranus's views on Orchids, see Treviranus 1863a, and Correspondence vol. 11, letter from L. C. Treviranus, 12 February 1863.
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    f4 3619.f4
    The English edition of Orchids has 365 pages. Since CD did not send Bronn the sheets of the first half of the book until the beginning of May, Bronn apparently translated more than 300 pages in only six weeks (see letter to H. G. Bronn, 25 April [1862]).
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    f5 3619.f5
    Bronn's German translation of Orchids (Bronn trans. 1862) was published on 20 October 1862 (Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 29: 2195). See also letter from E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 16 October 1862.
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    f6 3619.f6
    Bronn translated both the first and second German editions of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860 and 1863).
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    f7 3619.f7
    See enclosure.
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    f8 3619.f8
    CD had arranged for Schweizerbart to purchase electrotype plates of the illustrations for Orchids, made from John Murray's original woodcuts (see letters to John Murray, 13 June [1862] and 20 [June 1862]).
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    f9 3619.f9
    Bronn refers to the second German edition of Origin (Bronn trans. 1863; see letters from H. G. Bronn, [before 11 March 1862], 27 March 1862, and 19 May 1862). It was published in three parts, appearing on 6 October, 17 November, and 19 December 1862 (Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 29: 2083, 2447, and 2735); however, the title-page bore the date `1863'. There is a copy of the work in the Darwin Library--CUL.
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    f10 3619.f10
    In the key to figure 3, given in Orchids, p. 23, the label `l' is said to stand for `labellum', and `l'' for `guiding plate on the labellum'; there is, however, no l' shown on the figure. The error was corrected for the second edition (Orchids 2d ed., p. 18).
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    f11 3619.f11
    Bronn mistranscribed the term: it read `cocked-hat'.
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    f12 3619.f12
    In the key to figure 31 (Orchids, p. 272), the label `a' is said to stand for `anther', and `a'' for `rudimentary shield-like anther'; there is, however, no a' shown on the figure. The error was corrected for the second edition (Orchids 2d ed., p. 227).
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    f13 3619.f13
    In the last paragraph of his chapter on the Catasetidae (Orchids, p. 285), CD stated: The flowers of Orchids in their strange and endless diversity of shape, may be compared with the great vertebrate class of Fish, or still more appropriately with tropical Homopterous insects, which seem to us in our ignorance as if modelled by the wildest caprice. In his own copy of Orchids (Darwin Library--CUL), CD marked this final paragraph for deletion. However, the paragraph including the comparison between orchids and homopterous insects is maintained in the second edition (Orchids 2d ed., pp. 224--5).
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    f14 3619.f14
    The sentence Bronn refers to reads: In England the flowers are much visited by insects: during the wet and cold season of 1860 a friend in Sussex examined five spikes bearing eighty-five expanded flowers: of these, fifty-three had the pollinia removed, and thirty-two had them in place; but as many of the latter were immediately beneath the buds, ultimately a larger proportion would almost certainly have been renewed. In his own copy of Orchids (Darwin Library--CUL), CD deleted the word `renewed' in pencil and wrote `removed' in the margin. In the second edition, the word was again misprinted, this time as `remowed' (Orchids 2d ed., p. 102).
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    f15 3619.f15
    John Lindley was the leading authority on orchid taxonomy. Bronn refers to the table listing the various tribes of orchids and their genera in Lindley 1853, pp. 181--3, which he included in his translation (Bronn trans. 1862, p. vi).
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