From W. W. Reade 3 May 1872
11 St. Mary Abbot’s Terrace | Kensington.
May 3. —72
My dear Sir
I was just going to write to you to ask you not to hurry about reading the book & to suggest that you should begin by reading from 387 to 463—such being the true commencement of the book, and also the Darwinian part— it is a kind of free translation from yourself, I fear with some errors: but I intend to recast the book, to cut out & transplant the African & polemical passages, & to make it a concise & well constructed narrative of Universal History—filling out the 4th. chapter with no dodging backwards & forwards.1 So I shall be able to make corrections— I shall not do it for a good while yet to come—& also add to my knowledge of history & science in the meantime.
I am very glad Mrs. Darwin likes the preface; a personal statement is always delicate ground. I fear that she will not approve of my tone in treating questions relating to religion. But in the work I am now on, my narrative of travel, I hope to reconcile some of those this book will offend.2 I have taken up the Religion of duty as the one business of my literary life; & shall endeavour to show that it is not inferior to Christianity as a religion of the affections, while far superior to it in all that concerns the intellect.
I took care the book shd. look well by stipulating with the publisher (who is frightened out of his wits) that it shd. be modelled on the Origin of Species. There is something very ludicrous in Mivart, your opponent, aping your title, your construction of chapters & summaries, & your binding—everything but your style, which he could not reproduce quite so easily.3 But it seems to me to be almost natural for a disciple to do so— My book is a child of your masterpiece & there shall be an outward resemblance at all events. Apropos of Mivart I wonder why they dont review you in the P.M.G. as promised— I hope to see the editor after he has read my book—& shall offer to do it myself if Morley does not mean to.4 The editor said he wd. send it to Morley. Perhaps he (Morley) finds it too scientific. I shall apply for your new book at the same time.5 I have no scruple abt. doing so, as though incompetent to deal with it, I know as much about it as the others on the staff. Lewes I fancy has had a split with them.6
With best wishes for your health believe me | yours very truly | Winwood Reade
Nobody regrets the death of apotheosis— Few people knew what it meant, I found: & young ladies suspected it was something improper7
Glad Mrs Darwin likes his preface, but fears she will not like his tone on religion.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8310,” accessed on 17 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8310