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Letter 5919

Darwin, C. R. to Müller, H. L. H.

23 Feb [1868]

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    Offers to undertake publication of English translation of Fritz Müller's Für Darwin. W. S. Dallas will translate it.


Down, Bromley, Kent

Feb: 23.

My dear Sir

When your brother's work ``Für Darwin'' appeared, I was anxious that it should be published in England; but I was then much out of health and knew no one fit to translate it. I have now found a very capable man, Mr. Dallas, who translated von Siebold and many papers for Annals & Mag. of Nat. History. Do you think your brother would like to see it translated? it could not now injure sale in Germany. It could only be published on what is called ``on commission'',—that is, I should have to pay all expenses, translation &c, and the publisher would charge percentage on sale. I think I could get our great publisher Mr. Murray to undertake its publication on commission, and his name would be a great advantage. But I should not be willing myself to undertake the expense, except on following terms, viz, to have the use or loan of the woodcuts for nothing or for a very small sum, and then I would agree to pay over the whole of the profits (after all expenses have been deducted) to your brother or his publisher. Of course it is a mere chance whether there will be profits: purely scientific works do not sell well in England; but on the other hand there is much interest at present on the modification of species.—

I do not know on what terms Engelmann of Leipzig published your brother's book; but if you feel nearly sure that your brother would approve of a Translation, would you have the kindness to write and negotiate with Engelmann, and let me soon hear the result. If we can come to terms, I would set Mr. Dallas (who is a busy man and cannot give up all his time) to work, and I would then write to your brother for any corrections or moderate additions, and not begin printing till we hear from him. How soon would answer come?

I hope that you will be so kind as to oblige me on this head; the publication of your brother's book would I am sure do good for our cause in England. Many thanks for Bot. Zeitung; but the copy unfortunately was imperfect, and pages 49, 50, 51 and 52 were missing.— Is it a review of the article which you formerly sent me?

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5919.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. S. Dallas, 22 February 1868.
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    f2 5919.f2
    The reference is to F. Müller 1864. On CD's enthusiasm for the book, see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to Fritz Müller, 10 August [1865].
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    f3 5919.f3
    See letter from W. S. Dallas, 22 February 1868. William Sweetland Dallas had translated a work by Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold (Siebold 1856). The English translation appeared as On a true parthenogenesis in moths and bees (Siebold 1857).
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    f4 5919.f4
    CD refers to John Murray.
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    f5 5919.f5
    F. Müller 1864 was published by the firm of Wilhelm Engelmann.
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    f6 5919.f6
    Müller had sent CD a copy of his paper on mosses (H. Müller 1866; CD's annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL). An abstract of this paper appeared in Botanische Zeitung 25 (1867) 374--6, 380--1 (H. Müller 1867).
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