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H.G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German DarwinismA Study in Translation and Transformation$
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Sander Gliboff

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262072939

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262072939.001.0001

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Bronn’s Origin

Bronn’s Origin

(p.123) 4 Bronn’s Origin
H.G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German Darwinism

Sander Gliboff

The MIT Press

This chapter offers a sampling of individual infelicities and “errors” in Heinrich Georg Bronn’s German translation of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and examines the issues that arose from his interpretation. Some of these issues had to do with language, specifically Bronn’s choice of wordings for “origin,” “natural selection,” “favoured races,” and “struggle for life.” In his translation, Bronn changed “psychology” to “physiology” (Physiologie) and omitted the entire line “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history” found in the original. In addition to linguistic ambiguities, Bronn’s translation of Darwin’s work was colored by differences between the two men’s knowledge and experiences in natural history, as well as between German and British conceptions of biology as a science. This chapter also considers Bronn’s laws of organic change, including progress toward greater perfection and adaptation and survival, and his views about creation and evolution of species.

Keywords:   Heinrich Georg Bronn, German translation, Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, natural selection, natural history, biology, evolution, adaptation, perfection

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