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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   15 March 1874


March 15th. 1874

My dear Sir,

I ought to have written to you long before now, but I am sorry to say I was laid up again with a new attack of pleurisy and pneumony. Now it is over and I feel again pretty well. In about four weeks I shall start for Edinburgh and I hope to be in London between the 16th. to 20th. April.1

The publisher, Mr Koch, thinks it would be very good, to collect all your works in one collected edition. I proposed him to divide the “Works of Ch Darwin’ in this way: I General subjects. 1. The Voyage round the World, 2 Origin of Species, 3. Variation

II Zoology: 1. Descent of Man, 2. Expression

III Botany: 1. Orchids and Climbing Plants2

2 Drosera and the articles on Primula, Catasetum and so on, in sofar as they are not contained in any other work

IV Geology: 1. Geolog. Observations on South America

2. Volcanic Islands,

3. Coral reefs.

The proper division into Volumes depends on the size of the different writings to be taken together. Perhaps it might be very desirable to add to the first Series (General) a Volume containing the first Papers and Letters (1858, Linn. Soc.3 etc.— ? Letters from the Athenaeum, Nature etc)—

Mr Koch is very anxious to know what your opinion is about his plan. Most of your works are published by him. The Voyage does not make any difficulty.4 The geological writings have never been translated as yet. The only outward change of the books would be, to add a second, general, title. Should you approve of this edition, you would perhaps be so kind as to give me some hints with respect to papers of minor size, which might be added or collected, so as to give with the edition as it were a complete history of your work.

You asked me about the number of copies of your works sold in Germany, or sold in the German translation (for, a certain number sells always in the Baltic provinces, in Denmark and so on).5 Here is Mr Koch’s list (up to Febr 1st.)

Origin of species (5. editions) sold 6500 copies
Descent of Man " 5000 "
Variation of plants and animals " 1700 "
Expression of emotions (new edition 1st printing) " 3000 "
Orchids — — – " 600  "6

(That is in a round sum 17,000 copies)

I think there are few books which are bought in equal numbers in Germany, as our public does not buy books half as freely as the English.

With the best wishes for your health | I am | My dear Sir, | Yours sincerely. | J. Victor Carus


Carus was going to give lectures at the University of Edinburgh in the summer of 1874 (see letter from J. V. Carus, 19 January 1874 and n. 2).
Eduard Koch of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung began publishing CD’s collected works in German from 1875. The volumes followed the order of topics laid out by Carus, but were not published in sequence (Freeman 1977).
The 1858 paper in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London was CD’s first public announcement of his theory of natural selection. It was published with a paper by Alfred Russel Wallace that propounded the same theory. See Darwin and Wallace 1858.
Carus refers to Journal of researches, which had been translated into German and published by a different publisher, Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn, in 1844 (Dieffenbach trans. 1844). It was translated by Carus and published by E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung in 1875 as volume 1 of CD’s collected works (Carus trans. 1875b).
Carus refers to Bronn trans. 1860, Bronn trans. 1863, Bronn and Carus trans. 1867, Bronn and Carus trans. 1870, Bronn and Carus trans. 1872 (editions of Origin); Carus trans. 1871 and Carus trans. 1871–2 (editions of Descent); Carus trans. 1868 and Carus trans. 1873 (editions of Variation); Carus trans. 1872 and Carus trans. 1874 (editions of Expression); Bronn trans. 1862 (Orchids).


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.

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.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

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.

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


Proposal to collect all of CD’s works in a German edition. Asks CD’s opinion and suggests an outline of volumes.

Lists German sales of various volumes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 93
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9363,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

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