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Lot
37038

Charles Darwin. The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species. London: John Murray, 1877. First editi...

2011 September Beverly Hills Signature Rare Books Auction #6058

 
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Auction Ended On: Sep 13, 2011
Item Activity: 19 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions - Beverly Hills
9478 West Olympic Blvd., 1st Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Description:
Presentation Copy from Darwin to the Translator of His Works into French, with Three Autograph Letters Signed by Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin. The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species. London: John Murray, 1877. First edition, first issue. Inscribed by Darwin on the title page: "From the Author with kind regards." Also with three autograph letters signed by Darwin tipped in. Edouard Heckel's copy with his ink notes on blank preliminary page, and with his monogrammed anchor stamp on title page. Octavo. viii, 352 pages, plus 32 pages of publisher's advertisements dated March, 1877. Illustrations. Green cloth with gilt titles and gilt decorative borders and device to spine, and with blind-stamped line pattern to boards. Brown coated endpapers. Mild rubbing to binding; minor wrinkling to boards. Two small ink stains to rear board. Text block is intact but has completely (and cleanly) separated from binding. Front free endpaper chipped. Binder's stamp on rear pastedown. Book in good condition, in a custom clamshell box; letters are in very good or better condition.

Edouard Heckel was the translator of several of Darwin's works into French, including this one. Tipped in at the beginning of the book are three autograph letters signed by Charles Darwin (one signed "Ch. Darwin"), written to Heckel. Each letter is on notepaper measuring 8 x 5 inches and all are folded together to fit inside the dimensions of the book. All have the address "Down, Beckenham, Kent, Railway Station, Orpington, S.E. R." printed in the top right corner.

The letters cover the period November, 1877 to August 13, 1878, as Heckel was preparing the French translation of Different Forms of Flowers. Darwin offers praise, suggestions, and appreciation in these three letters. Heckel's translation, Des différentes formes de fleurs dans les plantes de la même espèce was published in Paris in July, 1878 by Reinwald.

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The first letter is dated Nov. 20, 1877 and concerns Darwin's appreciation of Heckel's translation of his Cross and Self-Fertilisation (1877), calling it "excellent." He writes that he would be delighted if Heckel could somehow find a publisher for a French translation of the present work: "It would please me much to see a translation by you of the Different Forms of Flowers, but M. Reinwald informed me some little time since, that in the present political state of France he was afraid to bring out a translation." One page.

The second letter is dated Jan. 1, 1878. Heckel has begun translating Different Forms of Flowers, and has asked Darwin for direction on translating plant names (specifically the cowslip and the oxslip). Darwin warns him of two "BAD errata" which had been published in the English edition, and which, apparently, had caused him a certain amount of grief: on page 162 "shortest stamens" had been incorrectly printed as "mid-length stamens," and on p. 205 "own-form mid-length stamens" hand been incorrectly printed as "own-form shortest stamens." Heckel has made the corrections in this copy. Three pages.

The third letter is dated Aug. 13, 1878. Darwin writes Heckel to thank him for his work and to acknowledge that it is largely due to Heckel's translations that his work is known in France. One page.

Heckel's notes on the preliminary page of the book show his progress on the translation: when he started, when he finished, and when the work was published. Des différentes formes de fleurs dans les plantes de la même espèce was published in July, 1878 by Reinwald.

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