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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   21 January 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 21 1874

My dear Sir

I am very glad to hear of a new ed. of the Descent of Man, but it will be impossible for you to have corrected sheets for some time.1 I have revised the style largely, & have altered & added to many parts. I hope that it will be considerably improved. I shall have it stereotyped so that it will never be corrected again.

As far as I can judge, the sheets will not be ready for the printer for 6 or 8 weeks; & then there will be the correcting the proofs & printing off the sheets. There will be a few new woodcuts. As far as I can see (which is blindly) it will not be possible to send you corrected sheets for about 3 months.2

At present my work of revision is stopped for a week or 2 by a new edition of my small book on Coral Reefs   I think perhaps this book wd sell in Germany if translated; & if Messrs Smith & Elder wd supply stereotype plates at a moderate profit to them.3

I am extremely glad to hear a pretty good account of your health; & that Edinburgh suited you so well.4

When you come to England I hope that you will be able to pay me a visit.

Out of curiosity & vanity I should like to hear (some time) how many copies have been sold in Germany, of my Descent of man, Expression & other books.5

My dear Sir | yours very sincerely. | Ch. Darwin


See letter from J. V. Carus, 19 January 1874 and n. 1. CD was preparing a new edition of Descent.
CD sent the first part of the new edition of Descent to the printers in March 1874 and received the first proofs in May (see letters to J. V. Carus, 8 March [1874], and 23 May [1874]).
CD was preparing a new edition of Coral reefs, published by Smith, Elder & Co. (see letter to Smith, Elder & Co, 8 January 1874). Carus translated Coral reefs in 1876 (Carus trans. 1876).
Carus suffered from frequent bronchial complaints, but his condition had improved in the summer of 1873, when he was teaching in Edinburgh (see letter from J. V. Carus, 19 January 1874).
Carus sent the sales figures with his letter of 15 March 1874.


Carus, Julius Victor, trans. 1876a. Über den Bau und die Verbreitung der Corallen-Riffe. By Charles Darwin. (German translation of Coral reefs.) Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung (E. Koch).

Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first 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. 1842.

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


Is glad to hear of new German edition of Descent, but owing to his extensive revisions, corrected sheets will not be ready for about three months.

Is working on a new edition of Coral reefs, which he thinks would sell in Germany.

Would like to hear "out of curiosity & vanity" how many copies of his books have been sold in Germany.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9252,” accessed on 30 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22