Darwin Letter Friday


You can do it, Chas!

Charles Darwin wanted what many academics still strive for: to get published!

It was difficult for other reasons, in his case. Murray, the publisher, might reject a paper that runs “slap counter to Genesis.” Look out, Christendom, here comes Darwin! He mentions this concern in a letter below.

Down Bromley Kent

March 28th

My dear Lyell

If I keep decently well I hope to be able to go to press with my volume early in May. This being so, I want much to beg a little advice from you.— From an expression in Lady Lyell’s note, I fancy that you have spoken to Murray.f2 Is it so? and is he willing to publish my Abstract? If you will tell me whether anything & what has passed, I will then write to him: does he know at all subject of Book?

Secondly can you advise me, whether I had better state what terms of publication I shd. prefer or first ask him to propose terms. And what, do you think, would be fair terms for an Edition? share profits or what?

Lastly, will you be so very kind as to look at enclosed title & give me your opinion & any criticisms:f3 you must remember that if I have health & it appears worth doing, I have a much larger & full book on same subject nearly ready.f4 My abstract will be about 500 pages of size of your first Edition of Elements of Geology.—f5

Pray forgive me troubling you with above queries; & you shall have no more trouble on subject.

I hope the world goes well with you, & that you are getting on with your various works.f6

I am working very hard for me, & long to finish & be free & try to recover some health.

My dear Lyell | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Very sincere thanks to you for standing my Proxy for Wollaston Medal.f7

P.S. | Would you advise me to tell Murray that my Book is not more un-orthodox, than the subject makes inevitable. That I do not discuss origin of man.— That I do not bring in any discussions about Genesis &c, & only give facts, & such conclusions from them, as seem to me fair.—

Or had I better say nothing to Murray, & assume that he cannot object to this much unorthodoxy, which in fact is not more than any Geological Treatise, which runs slap counter to Genesis.—


An abstract of an Essay
on the
Species and Varieties
Through Natural Selection
Charles Darwin M. A
Fellow of the Royal, Geological & Linn. Socy.
&c &c &c &c

In a New York Times Op-Ed Wednesday, Olivia Judson drops the question:

Why haven’t so many biologists read On the Origin of Species?

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