Correspondence Vol. 17 is out

Those frankly wonderful people at the Darwin Correspondence Project have announced the publication of volume 17 of their stupendously researched series of books. The latest volume contains the full texts of more than 500 letters Darwin wrote and received during the year 1869. The project has also announced that volume 15 of the correspondence is now online.

Forget all the biographies, and Darwin's own Autobiography; if you want to get to know the real Charles Darwin, you should be reading his correspondence.

I don't have many ambitions in life, but one of them is to live long enough to read the complete set of Darwin's correspondence. To be frank, it's touch-and-go whether I'll make it: they aren't exactly knocking these books out once a fortnight. It has taken 23 years to publish the first 17 volumes, and there will be approximately 30 volumes in the complete series. The final volume is due to be published around 2025.

Darwin groupie's study
My suddenly (and alarmingly) incomplete set of volumes of Darwin's Correspondence.

I'll be off to my local bookshop to order my copy of volume 17 this morning.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…

One comment

  1. I'm in pretty much the same position as you. I began reading the Correspondence in July, 2008 and am just completing volume 11. I'll have caught up to CUP's publication schedule sometime next summer. Because every day for over a year I've read several of the letters and all substantive notes and appendix entries, I feel as if I've been living in Darwin's head, not an uncomfortable venue. Along the way I've also been reading the collected papers and rereading the major works in synchrony with the correspondence, although I must admit I slacked on the barnacle monographs. At age 63, in good health, I am optimistic of seeing this to the end. I have the NYU 29 volume complete works, but generally use "reading copies" instead. After next summer, I'll start working through Huxley's collected essays (9 volumes), since CUP won't be publishing often enough to keep me occupied.

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