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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. G. Semper1   8 February 1874

Würzburg

d. 8t Febr. 74.

Hochverehrter Herr!

Ihren so freundlichen Brief vom 1t. d. kann ich nicht unbeantwortet lassen, obgleich Sie mir 〈eig〉entlich keine Fragen darin stellen.2 Indessen 〈re〉icht er mir doch einen Vorwand dazu: das Zitat des Engländers, welches Ihnen so gefallen und dessen Gedanken ich meinerseits immer heilig gehalten habe, ist von Lewes; es steht in seinem Life of Goethe.3 Zu meinem Bedauern muss ich Ihnen bekennen, dass dies Wort hier in Deutschland wenig beachtet wird; die Anerkennung der aufrichtigen Meinung Anderer gehört nicht mehr zu unseren Tugenden.

Für die freundlich zugesagte Uebersendung Ihres Werkes über die Riffe sage ich Ihnen im Voraus meinen herzlichsten Dank.4 In grösster Verehrung | Ihr ergebener | C. Semper.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
CD’s letter to Semper has not been found.
The concluding lines of Semper’s ‘Reisebericht’ (Travelogue; Semper 1863) alluded to George Henry Lewes’s words in his biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Lewes 1855, 2: 424): ‘What Channing says of opinions generally, is applicable to critical opinions: we are answerable for their uprightness, not for their rightness.’ Semper had sent CD a copy of Semper 1863 with his letter of 25 January 1874. Lewes referred to William Ellery Channing, an American Unitarian minister.
CD had evidently offered to send Semper the second edition of Coral reefs, which was published in 1874. CD cited Semper 1863 in Coral reefs 2d ed., pp. 228, 242.

Translation

From C. G. Semper1   8 February 1874

Würzburg

8th Feb. 74.

Most honoured Sir!

Your so very kind letter of the first of the month I cannot leave unanswered, even though it does not actually contain any queries on your part.2 Yet it provides me with an excuse to write: the quotation by the Englishman, which you liked so much and whose idea I myself have always kept sacred, is by Lewes; it is from his Life of Goethe.3 To my regret I must confess that his words are not much observed in Germany; to acknowledge the sincere opinion of others has ceased to be one of our virtues.

For promising so kindly to send your work on the reefs I thank you most cordially in advance.4 With the greatest veneration | Your devoted | C. Semper.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see p. QQQQ.
CD’s letter to Semper has not been found.
The concluding lines of Semper’s ‘Reisebericht’ (Travelogue; Semper 1863) alluded to George Henry Lewes’s words in his biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Lewes 1855, 2: 424): ‘What Channing says of opinions generally, is applicable to critical opinions: we are answerable for their uprightness, not for their rightness.’ Semper had sent CD a copy of Semper 1863 with his letter of 25 January 1874. Lewes referred to William Ellery Channing, an American Unitarian minister.
CD had evidently offered to send Semper the second edition of Coral reefs, which was published in 1874. CD cited Semper 1863 in Coral reefs 2d ed., pp. 228, 242.

Summary

Comments on G. H. Lewes’s book [The life and works of Goethe (1855)].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9276
From
Carl Gottfried Semper
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Würzburg
Source of text
DAR 177: 136
Physical description
1p (German) damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9276,” accessed on 25 August 2019, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-9276

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22

letter