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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   19 March 1876


March 19th. 76.

My dear Sir,

You will have seen the Insectivorous Plants which are out for a few weeks. The Climbing Plants are now printing. Meanwhile I am preparing the geological writings.1 You mention two papers, which would be “worth translating”—(that is your expression; I think all of your papers are so extremely interesting, for the spirit and the method, that I should not venture to give an opinion in such terms)—viz on the Ice-action in the S. Hemisphere and on the great Earth quake in Chile   Am I right in supposing, that the first is the memoir on the Erratic Boulders in S. America (Geol Transact Vol VI.) and the second is the Memoir on the Connexion of certain Volcanic Phenomena in S. America (Geolog. Trans Vol V. p 601.)? I find no papers with the titles you give in the Catalogue of Scientific Papers2

Many thanks for the new edition of the Variation under Domestication. I dare say ere long a new german edition will become necessary; you would therefore oblige me by sending the corrected sheets you mentioned. At present however Herr Koch says that he has copies enough for immediate wants.3

Happily enough the bad winter went off better than I feared. Just now I have a bad cold, but not a serious one; however it prevents me from going to Edinburgh to get the LLD, which they very kindly offered me   I lectured here through the whole winter without interruption, and I hope to do the same during the Summer, except a few weeks in Ems where I am advised to go earlier this year.4

I look forward with the greatest anxiety to your two new books on Intercrossing and Orchids.5 I tried to follow your advise and have the translation done under my superintendence.6 But you may be assured, it is a sacrifice on my part, not to do it myself, for those hours I am busy with your works are the happiest of the whole day. Only tell me frankly, if you have any reason to wish for another translator. I should be extremely sorry, for you may depend upon, I take the greatest pains to do it well and worth the original

In the Climbing Plants there are only a few misprints. Sphaerostema must be written Sphaerostemma. (p 16, 26 and passim). On p. 31. under Siphomeris, May 26, read 1st. circle for 2st. P. 58 l. 12 from bottom read 8,1 mg for 8,01 mg.7 Do you happen to have a bound copy of the Climbing Plants to spare for me?

With the best wishes for your health | I am | Ever yours gratefully | J. Victor Carus


Carus translated Insectivorous plants and Climbing plants 2d ed. into German (Carus trans. 1876b and 1876c). He was translating CD’s geological works for a German collected edition published by E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. Carus translated Coral reefs 2d ed. in 1876 (Carus trans. 1876a), Volcanic islands in 1877 (Carus trans. 1877a), and South America in 1878 (Carus trans. 1878b; from the combined second edition, Geological observations 2d ed.).
In his letter to Carus of 19 March [1874] (Correspondence vol. 22), CD said that ‘Distribution of the erratic boulders’ and ‘Volcanic phenomena and the formation of mountain chains’ were worth republishing. Carus published translations in 1878 (Carus trans. 1878c). CD also sent some of his geological papers with his letter to Carus of 25 December 1875 (Correspondence vol. 23). Carus probably refers to the Royal Society catalogue of scientific papers 2: 153.
See Correspondence vol. 23, letter to J. V. Carus, 14 October [1875]. Carus’s name appears on the presentation list for Variation 2d ed. (see Appendix III). Eduard Koch was the head of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Carus’s publisher. There had already been a second German edition of Variation (Carus trans. 1873); the third German edition, based on Variation 2d ed., did not appear until 1878 (Carus trans. 1878a).
Carus suffered from bronchial problems. His health had improved while he was in Edinburgh, where he gave a course of lectures in the summers of 1873 and 1874 (see Correspondence vol 22, letter from J. V. Carus, 19 January 1874). LLD: legum doctor (Latin; doctor of laws) (Chambers). Carus lectured on comparative anatomy at the University of Leipzig.
Cross and self fertilisation was published on 10 November 1876 (Freeman 1977), and Orchids 2d ed. in 1877. Carus translated both works into German (Carus trans. 1877c and 1877d).
In his letter of 14 October [1875] (Correspondence vol. 23), CD suggested that Carus should employ an assistant to translate Climbing plants 2d ed. under his (Carus’s) superintendence, because Carus had not finished translating Insectivorous plants.
These corrections were made to the third thousand of Climbing plants 2d ed., which appeared in 1882.


Chambers: The Chambers dictionary. Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap Publishers. 1998.

Climbing plants 2d ed.: The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Coral reefs 2d ed.: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. By Charles Darwin. Revised edition. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1874.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

‘Distribution of the erratic boulders’: On the distribution of the erratic boulders and on the contemporaneous unstratified deposits of South America. By Charles Darwin. [Read 5 May 1841.] Transactions of the Geological Society of London 2d ser. 6 (1841–2): 415–31. [Shorter publications, pp. 147–62. For read date, see Proceedings of the Geological Society of London 3 (1838–42): 425.]

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Geological observations 2d ed.: Geological observations on the volcanic islands and parts of South America visited during the voyage of H.M.S. ‘Beagle’. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1876.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.

Royal Society catalogue of scientific papers: Catalogue of scientific papers (1800–1900). Compiled and published by the Royal Society of London. 19 vols. and index (3 vols.). London: Royal Society of London. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1867–1925.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1846.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Volcanic islands: Geological observations on the volcanic islands, visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle, together with some brief notices on the geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Being the second part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1844.

‘Volcanic phenomena and the formation of mountain chains’: On the connexion of certain volcanic phenomena in South America; and on the formation of mountain chains and volcanos, as the effect of the same power by which continents are elevated. By Charles Darwin. [Read 7 March 1838.] Transactions of the Geological Society of London 2d ser. 5 (1840): 601–31. [Shorter publications, pp. 97–124.]


Insectivorous plants is out

and Climbing plants is at the printer’s.

He is now at work on the geological writings.

Thinks all of CD’s papers extremely interesting "for the spirit and the method".

Cites some misprints in Climbing plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 103
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10419,” accessed on 2 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24