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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   21 September 1880

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

Sept. 21st 1880

My dear Sir

I thought that I had told you the size of the book.— I am ashamed of its length, but do not know what part could be omitted with propriety.— With Index it will be very nearly 600 pages.— You will be awfully sick of the first chapter.—1

I hope that you have by this time received a large additional number of sheets, which were despatched a day or two ago.—

I am delighted that you are able to give a fairly good account of your health.2

Believe me my dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. In the intervals of correcting the Proofs, I am writing a very little book & have done nearly half of it.— Its title will be (as at present designed) “The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the action of Worms”— As far as I can judge it will be a curious little book.—3


See letter from J. V. Carus, 18 September 1880. CD was sending the proof-sheets of Movement in plants for Carus to translate into German. The work was 592 pages long including the index and excluding preliminaries.
Earthworms was published in October 1881 (Freeman 1977).


Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.

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.

Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.


CD is ashamed of length of Movement in plants – with index, nearly 600 pages. JVC will be awfully sick of ch. 1.

In intervals of correcting proofs, he is writing on the formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms. It will be a curious little book [Earthworms].

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12718,” accessed on 1 December 2023,