Introduction to the Danish translation of Darwin's Descent of Man (1874-75)

By Lars Brøndum and Marie Larsen

Menneskets Afstamning og Parringsvalget [Descent of Man and Selection in relation to sex] was first published in Danish as a series of booklets called Menneskets Oprindelse [Origin of Man] and Parringsvalget [Selection in relation to sex] in 1874-1875. In 1875 it was collected in two volumens under the title Menneskets Afstamning og Parringsvalget [Descent of Man and Selection in relation to sex]. In 1909, the centenary of Darwin's birth, it appeared in a new edition.

Darwin's work was translated by the Danish botanist and author of fiction Jens Peter Jacobsen from the English 1st edition. In 1871-73 he published a series of articles in the Danish journal Nyt dansk Maanedsskrift [New Danish Monthly] on Darwin’s books and theories. Among these were Menneskeslægtens Oprindelse [Origin of Man] and Parringsvalget [Selection in relation to sex].

After publishing these articles Jacobsen offered the Danish publishing house Den Gyldendalske Boghandel [Gyldendal’s Bookstore] to translate the Origin of Species (published in Danish in 1871/1872) and Descent of man into Danish. Jacobsen made no comment on the translation of Descent of Man in a preface. The illustrations were not altered from the English edition.

When Menneskets Afstamning was published in 1875 the price was 10 DKK. This was a little more than a week’s salary for an unskilled labourer, so consequently not everyone could afford to purchase a copy. The second edition from 1909 was 10.25 DKK for a hardcover version. Unlike the 1909 second edition of the Danish translation of the Origin no cheap edition of Menneskets Afstamning was offered.

On the 24th of October 1874 the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende [Berlingske Times] carried a review of the first booklets. This review was an appraisal not only of Darwinism as such but moreover the shift from a priori reasoning about the nature of man and man’s place in nature (often related to a philosophical approach), into an empirically founded approach combined with scientific reasoning.

See the general introduction to Darwin in Denmark.

Darwin, C. R. 1874-1875. Menneskets Afstamning og Parringsvalget. Translated by J. P. Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
Volume 1. Text Image Text & image F1050.1
Volume 2. Text Image Text & image F1050.2

Detailed reference:

Darwin, C. R. 1874-1875. Menneskets Afstamning og Parringsvalget. Translated by Jens Peter Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Den Gyldendalske Boghandel (F. Hegel). vii + 426 pp.; vi + 404 pp. 2 Volumes. 21.1 x 13.7 x 4.7 cm. 76 Wood engravings (25 + 51). Printing: Thieles bogtrykkeri. Bookbinder: Jens E. Hansen

Translation of :

Darwin, C. R. 1871. The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray. 1st edition.
Volume 1. Text Image Text & image F937.1
Volume 2. Text Image Text & image F937.2

Holdings of: Natural History Museum, University of Aarhus

Contents:

3 blank folios

1 title page (Menneskets Afstamning og Parringsvalget – Første bind)

1 blank folio

4 pages of table of contents

5 pages of introduction

1 blank folio

1 title page (1. part – Menneskeslægtens Oprindelse)

1 blank folio

Chapter 1 – Bevis for, at Mennesket nedstammer fra en eller anden lavere Form

Chapter 2 – Sammenligning mellem Menneskets og de lavere Dyrs sjælelige Evner

Chapter 3 – Sammenligning mellem Menneskets og de lavere Dyrs Sjæleevner (fortsat)

Chapter 4 – Om den Maade, paa hvilken Mennesket har udviklet sig af en eller anden lavere Form

Chapter 5 – Om de intellektuelle og moralske Evners Udvikling i de første Tider og under Civilisationen

Chapter 6 – Om Menneskets Slægtskab og Genealogi

Chapter 7 – Om Menneske-Racerne

1 blank folio

1 title page (2. part - Parringsvalg)

1 blank folio

Chapter 8 – Principper for Parringsvalget

Chapter 9 – Om de sekundære Kjønskaraterer i de lavere Klasser af Dyreriget

Chapter 10 – Sekundære Kjønskaraktere hos Insekterne

Chapter 11 – Fortsættelse af Insekterne – Lepidopterernes eller Sommerfuglenes Orden

1 Title page (Menneskets Afstamning og Parringsvalget – Andet bind)

Volume 2

1 blank folio

3 pages of table of contents

1 blank folio

Chapter 12 – Sekundære Kjønskarakterer hos Fisk, Padder og Krybdyr

Chapter 13 – Fuglenes sekundære Kjønskarakterer

Chapter 14 – Fugle (fortsat)

Chapter 15 – Fugle (fortsat)

Chapter 16 – Fugle (sluttet)

Chapter 17 – Pattedyrenes sekundære Kjønskarakterer)

Chapter 18 – Pattedyrenes sekundærer Kjønskarakterer (fortsat)

Chapter 19 – Menneskets sekundære Kjønskarakterer

Chapter 20 – Sekundære Kjønskarakterer hos Mennesket

Chapter 21 – Resumé og Slutning

3 blank pages

RN1
 

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