skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Luigi Pomba1   6 May 1871

Torino, | Via Carlo Alberto, No. 33

il 6 mai 1871

Monsieur Charles Darwin. | Beckenham. Down Kent. S.E. Londres

Vous me pardonnerez, Monsieur, si je vous écris directement sans être connu de vous et dans une langue qui n’est ni la vôtre, ni la mienne, mais j’ai pour excuse que je vous écris pour affaires et avec la pleine autorisation de M. Ermanno Loescher, mon collègue et ami de Turin et sous ses auspices et que je ne connais pas assez la langue anglaise pour me servir d’elle en écrivant, c’est pour celà que j’ai adopté la langue française que tout le monde instruit connaît en Europe.

Mr. Ermanno Loescher a reçu votre honorée lettre du 22 avril dernier et me l’a communiquée.2 Je l’ai sous les yeux et il me charge de vous remercier beaucoup de l’autorisation que vous avez bien voulu lui accorder de publier la traduction de votre dernier ouvrage The Descent of Man, comme ma maison fait l’Edition Italienne du bel ouvrage de Mr. le Dr. Brehm, Illustrirte Thierleben, et que j’ai acheté de Mr. le Directeur de l’Institut bibliographique de Hildburghausen les clichets de cet ouvrage, M. Loescher et moi nous avons reconnu qu’il était plus convenable que l’ édition de votre célèbre ouvrage fut faite par l’éditeur du Dr. Brehm, dont l’ouvrage se trouverait ainsi complêté, s’étant lui-même limité aux animaux et n’ayant pas touché la question si importante de l’homme.3

M. Loescher me charge donc de vous dire, Monsieur, qu’il consent à ce que ma maison fasse l’édition de votre ouvrage Descent of Man. Celà m’oblige à vous écrire, ce qui est un grand honneur pour moi et à vous demander la permission que vous avez accordée si généreusement à Mr. Loescher, par votre honorée lettre du 22 avril 1871. J’espère que vous voudrez bien me l’accorder.

Si vous désirez des informations sur notre maison, vous pourrez les avoir chez M. Molini, bookseller, King William Street. Strand. ou chez M. Novelli, notre cousin, Crosby Square, city.4 Nous avons du reste fait des affaires avec plusieurs Editeurs de Londres par le passé.

Je suis prêt aussi à envoyer à Mr. Murray les 14 Livres Sterlings demandées et la paye de votre lettre du 22 avril pour avoir les 62 gravures sur bois en clichets pour compléter l’èdition, ayant déjà celles de M. le Dr. Brehm,5 mais comme votre lettre est adressée à M. Loescher et non à moi, il sera peut-être nécessaire d’agir autrement avec M. Murray, c’est à dire, si vous le jugez convenable, de lui écrire de faire l’envoi et qu’aussitôt reçu, ou même avant, s’il le désire, je lui remettrai une traite sf Londres de £. 14.” à vue.

Je vous demande pardon, Monsieur, de ce nouvel embarras et du dérangement que je vous occasionne, je vous remercie d’avance de votre obligeance et je vous offre mes services en Italie si j’étais capable de vous y être utile.

Mr Loescher et moi nous avons l’honneur de vous saluer avec une grande consideration et je suis, Monsieur, | Votre très humble serviteur. | Louis Pomba.

Le traducteur qu’avait choisi M. Loescher est aussi le mien. C’est Mr le Prof. Michele Lessona, Directeur du Musée Zoologique de Turin, homme savant et capable, marié à une dame anglaise.6

CD annotations

0.1 Via … 33] underl blue crayon

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix I.
CD’s letter to Loescher has not been found. See, however, the letter from John Murray, 12 April [1871], and the letter to John Murray, 13 April [1871].
Alfred Edmund Brehm’s Illustrirtes Thierleben (Illustrated animal life; Brehm 1864–9 et al.) was published by the Bibliographisches Institut of Hildburghausen, in the duchy of Saxe-Meiningen (central Germany). The director of the Bibliographisches Institut was Hermann Julius Meyer. The Italian edition of Brehm’s work, La vita degli animali, was published by Unione Tipografica Editrice in six volumes (Brehm [1869]).
Mr Molini, of Molini and Green, booksellers, 27 King William Street, Strand, London, and Augustus Henry Novelli, merchant, 2 Crosby Square, London (Post Office London directory 1871) have not been further identified.
CD had used a number of illustrations from Brehm 1864–9 in Descent (figs. 38–40, 46–51, 60, 63, 66, 75–6; see Correspondence vol. 16, letter to Cassell, Petter & Galpin, [August–December 1868]). CD’s publisher was John Murray.
Michele Lessona’s wife, Adele Masi Lessona, was not English, but was known as a translator of European and American literary and scientific works into Italian (Govoni 2002, pp. 172–83).

Translation

From Luigi Pomba1   6 May 1871

Turin, | Via Carlo Alberto, No. 33

6 May 1871

Mr Charles Darwin. | Beckenham. Down Kent. S.E. | London

You will pardon me, Sir, if I write to you directly without being known to you and in a language which is neither yours nor mine, but my excuse is that I am writing to you on business, with the full authority and under the auspices of Mr Ermanno Loescher, my colleague and friend from Turin, and that I do not know the English language well enough to make use of it in writing; it is for this reason that I have adopted the French language, known to the whole educated world in Europe.

Mr Ermanno Loescher received your esteemed letter of 22 April last and has communicated it to me.2 I have it before my eyes and he charges me to thank you very much for the permission you kindly gave him to publish the translation of your latest work The Descent of Man. As my company is doing the Italian Edition of Dr. Brehm’s fine work, Illustrirte Thierleben, and as I have bought the plates for that work from the Director of the Bibliographic Institute at Hildburghausen, Mr Loescher and I have realised that it is more appropriate for the edition of your famous work to be done by Dr. Brehm’s publisher, so that his work would be complemented by it, since he limits himself to animals and has not touched on the important question of mankind.3

So Mr Loescher charges me to tell you, dear Sir, that he consents to my company publishing your work Descent of Man. This obliges me to write to you, which is a great honour for me, and to ask you for the permission that you so generously accorded to Mr. Loescher in your esteemed letter of 22 April 1871. I hope that you will be so kind as to accord it to me.

If you require information about our company, you may have it from Mr Molini, bookseller, King William Street, Strand, or from Mr Novelli, our cousin, Crosby Square, City.4 We have also conducted business with several London Publishers in the past.

I am also ready to send the 14 Pounds Sterling requested and the cost of your letter of 22 April to Mr. Murray to obtain the 62 woodcut engravings as plates in order to complete the edition, as I already have Dr. Brehm’s.5 But since your letter is addressed to Mr Loescher and not to me, perhaps it is necessary to proceed otherwise with Mr Murray, that is to say, if you judge it suitable, to write to him that he should make the shipment, and once it reaches me, or even sooner, I shall remit him a London draft, expenses paid, at £. 14.” payable on sight.

I beg your pardon, dear Sir, for this new difficulty and the upset that I am causing you. Thank you in advance for your obligingness; please accept my services in Italy if I am able to be of use to you here.

Mr Loescher and I have the honour of greeting you most respectfully and I am, dear Sir, | Your very humble servant. | Louis Pomba.

The translator chosen by Mr Loescher is mine as well. He is Professor Michele Lessona, Director of the Zoological Museum of Turin, a learned and able man, married to an English lady.6

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see p. QQQQ.
CD’s letter to Loescher has not been found. See, however, the letter from John Murray, 12 April [1871], and the letter to John Murray, 13 April [1871].
Alfred Edmund Brehm’s Illustrirtes Thierleben (Illustrated animal life; Brehm 1864–9 et al.) was published by the Bibliographisches Institut of Hildburghausen, in the duchy of Saxe-Meiningen (central Germany). The director of the Bibliographisches Institut was Hermann Julius Meyer. The Italian edition of Brehm’s work, La vita degli animali, was published by Unione Tipografica Editrice in six volumes (Brehm [1869]).
Mr Molini, of Molini and Green, booksellers, 27 King William Street, Strand, London, and Augustus Henry Novelli, merchant, 2 Crosby Square, London (Post Office London directory 1871) have not been further identified.
CD had used a number of illustrations from Brehm 1864–9 in Descent (figs. 38–40, 46–51, 60, 63, 66, 75–6; see Correspondence vol. 16, letter to Cassell, Petter & Galpin, [August–December 1868]). CD’s publisher was John Murray.
Michele Lessona’s wife, Adele Masi Lessona, was not English, but was known as a translator of European and American literary and scientific works into Italian (Govoni 2002, pp. 172–83).

Summary

Arrangements for Italian translation of Descent [1871].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7741
From
Luigi Pomba
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Turin
Source of text
DAR 174: 57
Physical description
3pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7741,” accessed on 19 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-7741.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19

letter