skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Milan Radovanović1   18 August 1876

Belgrad

18 Aug. 76.

Sir!

In der Mitte des Krieges wo die Augen der ganzen civilisirten Menschheit an mein Vaterland gerichtet sind, da er Schauplatz des Krieges geworden ist, durch welchen sich die Slavischen Völker sich von dem Türkischen Joch zu befreien streben, greife ich die Feder um Ihnen, verehrtester Autor, einige Zeile mitzutheilen.2

Es sind fast 2 Jahren, dass ich das Glück hatte von Euch Erlaubniss zu bekommen Ihr berühmtes Werk: “Origin of Species” in das Serbische übersetzen zu dürfen.3

Noch damals war meine Übersetzung vertig, aber leider, konnte sie bis jetzt noch nicht gedruckt werden, da ich selbst sehr lange Zeit im Auslande krank gewesen war; und—da ich das Unglück hatte, meinen einzigen, geliebten Bruder zu verlieren.4

Das Werk, welches ich mir die Freuheit genommen habe Ihnen zu schicken, ist die Arbeit meines verstorbenen Bruders; es ist die Serbische Übersetzung der “Natürlichen Schöpfung Geschichte” von Prof. Häckel.5

Durch dieses Buch, dessen serbische Übersetzung von einer unseren Wissenschaftlichen Geselschaft gekrönt gewesen war,6 ist Ihr Weltberühmter Name in die entferntesten Kreisen unseres Volkes bekannt geworden, und dieses Buch ist in unserer Literatur als Vorbote meiner Übersetzung Ihres Werkes: Origin—

Der Krieg, welcher meine Landsleute in Herzegowina schon über ein Jahr, und jetzt wieder in Serbien führen,7 und die allgemeine Aufregung, als die 〈n〉atü〈r〉liche Volge des Krieges ist die Ursache dass meine Übersetzung bis jetzt noch nicht erschienen ist, ich bin aber glücklich Ihnen mittheilen zu konnen dass es gleich geschehen wird, sobald die Friede wieder eintrit.

So viel hielt ich für meine Pflicht Ihnen mitzutheilen, in diesen für mein Vaterland so kritischen Zeiten. Und, nachdem ich wiederholt bitte um die Entschuldigung dass ich mir die Freuheit genommen habe Ihnen dieses Buch zu schicken, als ein schwaches Zeichen meiner grösster Verehrung, benütze ich diese Gelegenheit mich Euerer Gnaden zu empfehlen.

Ihr gehorsamster | Dr. M. Radowanowiź

P.S. Nachdem ich in der deutschen Sprache viel leichter schreibe als in der Englischen, so habe ich mich dieser bedient.— Ich hoffe Sie werden es mir nicht übel nehmen.

Addresse: M.R. Sanitäts Oberlieutenant und erster Assistent Arzt in Militar Hospital | zu Belgrad (Serbien)

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
The Principality of Serbia had proclaimed its independence and declared war on the Ottoman Empire in June 1876. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Berlin, 13 July 1878 (for more on the participants and effect on the region, see Cox 2002, pp. 53–4).
Radovanović had requested CD’s authorisation to publish a Serbian translation of Origin in his letter of 17 September 1874 (Correspondence vol. 22). CD’s response to that letter has not been found, but CD reiterated his approval in his letter of 25 August [1876].
Aleksa Radovanović died of tuberculosis in 1875 (‘Darvin i braća Radovanović’, www.nadlanu.com/pocetna/Darvin-i--braca-Radovanovic.a-60427.43.html, accessed 1 October 2014).
Aleksa Radovanović’s Serbian translation of Ernst Haeckel’s Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (Natural history of creation; Haeckel 1868b) was published in 1875 (Haeckel 1875b).
Aleksa Radovanović won a prize from the Zadužbine Ilije M Kolarca foundation (‘Darvin i braća Radovanović’; see n. 5, above).
Rebellion against the Ottoman Empire had begun in Herzegovina, spreading to Bosnia in 1875 (Encyclopaedia Britannica, britannica.com, accessed 24 November 2014).

Bibliography

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

Cox, John K. 2002. The history of Serbia. Westport, Conn., and London: Greenwood Press.

Encyclopaedia Britannica: Encyclopaedia Britannica online. www.britannica.com/

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Translation

From Milan Radovanović1   18 August 1876

Belgrade

18 Aug. 76.

Sir!

In the middle of the war, when the eyes of all civilised mankind are on my fatherland, as it has become the scene of a war through which the Slavic people are trying to liberate themselves from the Turkish yoke, I seize my pen to write a few lines to you, most venerated author.2

It is almost 2 years ago that I was lucky to get your permission to translate your famous work “Origin of Species” into Serbian.3

My translation was ready even then, but unfortunately it could not be printed until now, since I had been ill abroad for a long time; also—since I had the misfortune of losing my only, beloved brother.4

The work which I have taken the liberty of sending you is the work of my late brother. It is the Serbian translation of the “Natürliche Schöpfung Geschichte” by Prof. Häckel.5

Through this book, whose Serbian translation has won an award from one of our scientific societies,6 your world-famous name has become known in the remotest parts of our country, and this book is in our literature a herald of my translation of your work: Origin—

The war, which my countrymen have been waging in Herzegovina for over a year already,7 and which they now wage again in Serbia, and the general unrest resulting from the war, is the reason that my translation has not yet appeared, but I am glad to be able to inform you that this is about to happen as soon as we have peace again.

I felt so strongly that it was my duty to tell you, in these times which are so critical for my fatherland. And, since I ask once more for your forgiveness for having taken the liberty of sending you this book, as a small token of my greatest esteem, permit me to take this opportunity to recommend myself to your Grace.

Your obedient | Dr. M. Radowanowiź

P.S. Since I write more easily in German than in English, I have used this.— I hope you will not hold it against me.

Address: M.R. first medical lieutenant and first assistant physician in the military hospital | of Belgrade (Serbia)

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see p. 248.
The Principality of Serbia had proclaimed its independence and declared war on the Ottoman Empire in June 1876. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Berlin, 13 July 1878 (for more on the participants and effect on the region, see Cox 2002, pp. 53–4).
Radovanović had requested CD’s authorisation to publish a Serbian translation of Origin in his letter of 17 September 1874 (Correspondence vol. 22). CD’s response to that letter has not been found, but CD reiterated his approval in his letter of 25 August [1876].
Aleksa Radovanović died of tuberculosis in 1875 (‘Darvin i braća Radovanović’, www.nadlanu.com/pocetna/Darvin-i--braca-Radovanovic.a-60427.43.html, accessed 1 October 2014).
Aleksa Radovanović’s Serbian translation of Ernst Haeckel’s Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (Natural history of creation; Haeckel 1868b) was published in 1875 (Haeckel 1875b).
Aleksa Radovanović won a prize from the Zadužbine Ilije M Kolarca foundation (‘Darvin i braća Radovanović’; see n. 5, above).
Rebellion against the Ottoman Empire had begun in Herzegovina, spreading to Bosnia in 1875 (Encyclopaedia Britannica, britannica.com, accessed 24 November 2014).

Bibliography

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

Cox, John K. 2002. The history of Serbia. Westport, Conn., and London: Greenwood Press.

Encyclopaedia Britannica: Encyclopaedia Britannica online. www.britannica.com/

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Summary

Sends Serbian edition of Ernst Haeckel’s Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte translated by his late brother.

Serbian edition of Origin, translated by MMR, not yet published because of war with Turks.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10580
From
Milan Marinković (Milan) Radovanović
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Belgrade
Source of text
DAR 176: 3
Physical description
2pp (German)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10580,” accessed on 31 May 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10580.xml

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

letter