Life and Letters and Autobiography

An introduction by R. B. Freeman

This heading is used to contain the original edition of Life and letters, which is the first and basic life of Darwin, as well as its American and foreign language equivalents. The work contains the first published version of Darwin's autobiography, which was edited to avoid giving offence to his widow, and therefore the heading also includes the printings of the full text which first appeared in English in 1958, although it had appeared in Russian translation, independently transcribed from the manuscript, in the previous year. It also includes the one volume abridgement which first appeared in 1892.

The original edition went through five printings, totalling seven thousand copies, in little more than a year, each one being slightly corrected, and also appeared, m two instead of three volumes, in America with frequent reprints. The abridged edition is not to be considered merely as a short, and cheap version since it does contain matter not present in the original. The 1902 printing of it has a brief addition to the preface and a new portrait. Some recent editions of the autobiography also contain the autobiographical fragment which is proper to More letters.

The whole of Life and letters has appeared in French, German and Norwegian, the last the only Darwin in that language. The autobiography alone, or abridgements, have appeared in a further seventeen.

Darwin, F. ed. 1887. The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. London: John Murray.
Volume 1 Text Image Text & image F1452.1
Volume 2 Text Image Text & image F1452.2
Volume 3 Text Image Text & image F1452.3

Anon. 1909. Order of the proceedings at the Darwin celebrations held at Cambridge June 22-June 24, 1909. With a sketch of Darwin's life. Cambridge: University Press. Text Image Text & image F1481

Darwin, F. ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. Image F1461 (Provided by St. Catharine's College, Cambridge)

Darwin, C. R. 1958. The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882. With the original omissions restored. Edited and with appendix and notes by his grand-daughter Nora Barlow. London: Collins. Text Image Text & image F1497

Norwegian/Danish Click to see illustrations

Darwin, F. ed. 1889. Charles Darwins liv og breve med et kapitel selvbiografi. Translated by Martin Simon Søraas. Fagerstrand pr. Høvig: Bibliothek for de Tusen Hjem. Introduction
Volume 1 Text Image Text & image F1528.1
Volume 2 Text Image Text & image F1528.2
Volume 3 Text Image Text & image F1528.3

1909. Charles Darwin Selvbiografi. Text Image PDF F1512


Darwin, C. R. 1959. Autobiography [in Russian]. Translated by V. N. Sukachev. Edited by S. L. Sobol'. Moscow: Academy of Sciences U.S.S.R. Text F1541


From: Freeman, R. B. 1977. The Works of Charles Darwin: An Annotated Bibliographical Handlist. 2nd edn. Dawson: Folkstone.

NOTE: With thanks to The Charles Darwin Trust and Dr Mary Whitear for use of the Bibliographical Handlist. Copyright. All rights reserved. For private academic use only. Not for republication or reproduction in whole or in part without the prior written consent of The Charles Darwin Trust, 14 Canonbury Park South London N1 2JJ.

Corrections and additions copyright The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online - National University of Singapore.


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