Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species in 1859 and sent complimentary copies to perhaps a dozen German scientists. One of those who received a copy was Heinrich Georg Bronn, Germany’s most prominent paleontologist, whose research had strangely paralleled that of Darwin. The two men were even consulting each other’s work at times in the 1840s. Bronn’s German translation of The Origin of Species appeared only a few months after the original. This book examines the translation and early interpretation of Darwin’s book and theory and how German Darwinism relates to his own version. It argues that Ernst Haeckel, Darwin’s most famous German interpreter, followed Bronn very closely on important matters of interpretation and terminology concerning Darwinian evolution. In comparing German and British biology and Darwinism, the book juxtaposes Darwin and Bronn, their careers and intellectual commitments, before analyzing the Bronn translation and Haeckel’s use of it.
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