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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   [before 8 May 1873]1

53, George Street | Mrs. Robertson | Edinburgh

My dear Sir,

The publisher writes me, that a new book of you is advertised “On the evil effects of interbreeding in the vegetable kingdom.”2 He is anxious to have it translated and asks me to write to you about it. I should be very happy to translate it, but I cannot do it before September, as I have to lecture here till August and as I shall afterwards not settle quietly down in Leipzig before September.3 But as your last book was advertised in summer and did not come out before November,4 so I hope the same will be the case with this new one   You would oblige me exceedingly by telling me your opinion about my translating it.

I give a course of lectures on Natural History here in the place of Wyville Thomson5   Unfortunately I was so pressed with my time when I passed London that I could not think of trying to come to introduce myself to you. But I hope in the middle of August I shall be more fortunate than three years ago.6

An early answer would oblige me very much.

Believe me my dear Sir, | Yours ever sincerely | J. Victor Carus

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Lecture | visit here’7blue crayon


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. V. Carus, 8 May [1873].
CD began work ‘on Evil Effects of Intercrossing’ on 3 February 1873 (‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). The new book was announced in ‘Science gossip’, Athenæum, 19 April 1873, p. 509, where the title was given as ‘The Evil Effects of Interbreeding in the Vegetable Kingdom’. CD used the terms ‘intercrossing’ and ‘interbreeding’ to mean inbreeding. Eduard Friedrich Koch of the firm E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung published Carus’s German translations of CD’s works.
Carus was lecturing in Edinburgh (see n. 5, below) before returning to his post as professor extraordinarius of comparative anatomy at the University of Leipzig.
Expression was not published until 26 November 1872 (see Freeman 1977), but a brief reference to Expression as forthcoming had appeared in the ‘Science gossip’ section of the Athenæum, 17 August 1872, p. 215.
Charles Wyville Thomson was regius professor of natural history at the University of Edinburgh; from 1872 to 1876 he served on board the oceanographic survey ship HMS Challenger as head of the civilian scientists (ODNB).
See Correspondence vol. 18, letters from J. V. Carus, 16 April [1870] and 18 April 1870.
CD’s annotation is a note for his letter to Carus of 8 May [1873].


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Publisher [Schweizerbart] has seen CD’s new book advertised [Cross and self-fertilisation] and wishes to publish a German translation of it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 89
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8890,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21