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Darwin Correspondence Project

Darwin's works in letters


… praise from men, like yourself, is the only, though quite sufficient, reward I ever expect or wish to obtain for my works.

(letter to Ernst Dieffenbach, 2 October 1843)

Darwin published over 20 books with many going into several editions during his lifetime, and his letters take us deeper into the conception, research, writing, and reception of these major works.

How did his publication plans change over time? What help did he seek from his correspondence networks in researching for specific works? How did those networks expand and change as he moved from book to book? What did he say to friends and colleagues about the process of writing and publishing a particular book? How were his publications received by his contemporaries, and what was his reaction?

Go behind the scenes and explore the hidden life of:

Journal of researches (1839; better known as The voyage of the Beagle)

Living and fossil cirripedia (1851-4)

Before Origin: the 'big book' (unpublished in Darwin's lifetime)

On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (1859)

Origin: the later editions (1859-72)

On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects (1862)

Climbing plants (1865)

Descent of man and selection in relation to sex (1871)

Expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872)

Insectivorous plants (1875)

Cross and self fertilisation (1876)

Forms of flowers (1877)

The Life of Erasmus Darwin (1879)

Movement in Plants (1880)