skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Rudolf Sundström   20 June 1872

Stockholm, Sweden,

June 20, 1872.


By the printer mr Albert Bonnier invited to render into the Swedish language your admirable work “The Descent of Man”, it is with a feeling of the greatest veneration, that I dare to send to you the first part of my translation.1 If I have succeeded in interpreting on my native-tongue the thoughts, that you have written down in “The Descent”, belongs not to me to judge. But I shall always be satisfie〈d〉 of having, what depends on me, prepared my countrymen an occasion to become acquainted with the by you first proposed and after you so rightly denominated doctrine—

I have already from my arrival to the Academy of Upsala, partly from a dislike for the Speculative philosophy, partly—and this chiefly—compelled by my zoological studies, reflected upon the relation of man to the other animals, its origin etc. From my teachers and cordial friends, the professors W. Lilljeborg and T. Thorell, I have received many useful hints with regard to this sake. But it was first after my settling in Stockholm and after having been acquainted with professor N. J. Andersson, a warm adherent of the Darwinismus, that my attention was more specially directed on your doctrine— After this time I have assiduously studied your works and found in them an expression of what I long ago had more vaguely thought. For the thus obtained certainty I have many times thanked you in my thoughts, and I do it now by all my heart in words. To what I had previously read in the works of Huxley, Gegenbauer, Häckel, Rolle (whose “Ch. Darwins Lehre von die Entstehung der Arten” I have rendered into Swedish) etc., I have by your own words; “The Descent” lately found a further confirmation.2

As soon as the latter part of my translation will have appeared, I shall immediately send it to you. Thence you shall at least see, that it gives men in Sweden, who esteem and honour your name and, notwithstanding the lamentations of the orthodox and the sneering of the ignorant, glory themselves in being your partisans.

I long very much for the new work—On the emotions of the higher animals, expressed in their features—with wich, as I am assured, you are occupied.3

If you at some occasion would wish notices, that I can procure you, from my country, so is my adress: Sweden, Stockholm, Dagbladets Redaction.4

Believe me to be, Sir, yours sincerely | Rudolf Sundström. | Doctor Philosophiæ.

I send the book with the packet-post.


Sundström’s translation of Descent was published in two volumes in 1872 (Sundström trans. 1872). The copy sent to CD has not been found.
Sundström refers to Thomas Henry Huxley, Carl Gegenbaur, Ernst Haeckel, and Friedrich Rolle, and to his translation of Rolle’s book explaining Darwin’s theories on the origin of species (Rolle 1863; Rolle 1870).
Sundström refers to Expression.
Dagbladets Redaction: editorial office of Dagblad (Daily Post; Swedish).


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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Rolle, Friedrich. 1863. Chs. Darwin’s Lehre von der Entstehung der Arten im Pflanzen- und Thierreich in ihrer Anwendung auf die Schöpfungsgeschichte. Frankfurt: J. C. Hermann.

Rolle, Friedrich. 1870. Ch. Darwins lära om arternas uppkomst i vät- och djurriket, tillämpad p[a-ring] skapelsehistorien. Translated by Carl Rudolf Sundström. Stockholm: S. Flodius förlag.


Sends CD the first part of his Swedish translation of Descent [1872].

Letter details

Letter no.
Rudolf Sundström
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 318
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8394,” accessed on 13 December 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20