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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   11 November [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Novr 11th

My dear Sir

If the success (as far as sale is concerned, & very favourable newspaper criticisms) in England is any guide of success in Germany, it may cheer you in the tedious labour of Translation to hear that my book has been wonderfully successful. On last Friday, (the first day of its sale) 5267 copies were sold to the London booksellers alone.—2 This will cause some delay in distributing copies to the public for Mr. Murray had not enough copies of text or Plates ready.— Fortunately Mr M. agreed with Printers to keep the type sets up.— Would it not be worth while for Mr Koch to do the same in Germany?3 The Heliotype Coy. can print off very quickly, but as soon as ever Mr. K. thinks the sale wd. exceed 3000 he had better give the order & send the money to Mr. Murray.—4

I despatched a copy of the book to you about a week ago.—5

Very many thanks for your last letter, with its remarks.—6 I am now hard at work on some old Botanical observations, which interest me greatly, & afford a very pleasant change from speculations on Expression.—7

Believe me | My dear Sir | Yours vy sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 9 November 1872.
Carus was translating Expression into German (Carus trans. 1872b). See letter from John Murray, 9 November 1872.
Eduard Koch was the director of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung, Carus’s publisher.
In his letter to John Murray, 30 August [1872], CD reported that Koch had ordered 3000 sets of plates. The photographs in Expression were reproduced using the heliotype process (see Ekman 1998 and Prodger 2009).
Carus’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Expression (Appendix V).
CD was working on the insectivorous plant genera Drosera and Dionaea (see also letter to Alphonse de Candolle, 2 November [1872]).


Ekman, Paul. 1998. Introduction, afterword, and commentary to the third edition of The expression of the emotions in man and animals, by Charles Darwin. London: HarperCollins Publishers.

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

Prodger, Phillip. 2009. Darwin’s camera: art and photography in the theory of evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Reports on very successful sale of Expression in England. Suggests German publisher keep the type set up in case more than the expected 3000 copies are needed.

Has begun work on some old botanical observations [of Drosera for Insectivorous plants].

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8618,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

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