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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Ogle   22 February 1882

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

Feb. 22d 1882

My dear Dr. Ogle

You must let me thank you for the pleasure which the Introduction to the Aristotle book has given me.1 I have rarely read anything which has interested me more; though I have not read as yet more than a quarter of the book proper. From quotations which I had seen I had a high notion of Aristotle’s merits, but I had not the most remote notion what a wonderful man he was. Linnæus & Cuvier have been my two Gods, though in very different way, but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.—2

How very curious, also, his ignorance on some points as on muscles as the means of movement.—3 I am glad that you have explained in so probable a manner some of the grossest mistakes attributed to him.— I never realised before reading your book to what an enormous summation of labour we owe even our common knowledge. I wish old Aristotle could know what a grand Defender of the Faith he had found in you.

Believe me my dear Dr Ogle | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


Ogle sent CD a copy of his translation Aristotle on the parts of animals (Ogle trans. 1882; see letter from William Ogle, 17 January 1882). In addition to the translation, Ogle had written an introduction, a section on the main groups of animals recognised by Aristotle, and a synopsis of the text (ibid., pp. i–xxxv).
Carl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus) and Georges Cuvier.
See Ogle trans. 1882, p. 154.


Ogle, William, trans. 1882. Aristotle on the parts of animals. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.


Has rarely read anything more interesting than WO’s introduction to his Aristotle translation. Had no notion what a wonderful man Aristotle was. Linnaeus and Cuvier were mere schoolboys compared to him. His ignorance on some points, as on muscles and the means of movement, is curious.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Ogle
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.5: 19 (EH 88205917)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13697,” accessed on 6 October 2022,