skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   22 October [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Oct 22d

My dear Sir

I thank you for your very kind letter. My book will not be ready for, probably, a year, as my health lets me work so very slowly & I have found sexual selection a most laborious subject when treated in detail. My publisher wished so much to insert a notice of my Book that I could not refuse.2

There is no man in Germany I shd so much wish to translate any book by me as yourself, for I shd then feel quite safe.— I demurred to agreeing at once to M. Koch, as I had formerly been more annoyed, than you will readily believe, by thinking that my last Book would prove not worth translating.3 Moreover it has occurred to me, but on that head I must make enquiries, that I ought to receive some small payment for the right of Translation, as my Books seem to sell well.4 But as I have said I must make enquiries on that head.— Already one publisher in Germany has made offers to me but I gave him no definite answer.—

I shall be delighted to make your personal acquaintance when you come to England.5

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


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. V. Carus, 20 October 1869.
See letter from J. V. Carus, 20 October 1869 and n. 1. CD refers to Descent and John Murray.
Eduard Koch was the head of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. For more on CD’s doubts about the translation of his earlier book, Variation, see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, [19 March 1867].
CD had given his German publisher the right to translate Variation and earlier works free of charge but reserved the rights to future works. See Correspondence vol. 15, letter to Eduard Koch, 13 December [1867].
Carus was unable to visit CD when he was in England in the spring of 1870 (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter from J. V. Carus, 18 April 1870).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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


His book [Descent] will not be ready for a year because of his health and the laboriousness of work on sexual selection. Has deferred arrangements for German translation, but would feel secure with JVC. Carl Vogt has offered to translate it.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6954,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17