Reception of Charles Darwin's works in Poland in the 19th century
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published 16 academic works, the most important of which was On the Origin of Species by the Means of Natural Selection (London 1859). This work completely changed the perception of nature and lay the foundations for modern biological sciences. By the end of the 19th century all of Darwin’s works from the so-called evolutionist cycle were published in Poland; the publications included 6 works in 13 editions and variants. Darwin’s writings were brought to the attention of Polish readers mainly through publications associated with socio-cultural periodicals (“Niwa”, “Kraj”, “Przegląd Tygowniowy”). For their editors Darwinism was an important concept that created the framework for a progressive ideological programme. The publishers of the “Niwa” biweekly began to publish Darwin’s works in Poland during a dispute over Darwinism (1872-1876), publishing The Expression of the Emotions (Warsaw 1872) and an unfinished On the Origin of Species (Warsaw 1873). The second attempt to publish the works by the British naturalist was made in the mid 1880s by the publishers of “Przegląd Tygodniowy” in collaboration with the young naturalists-translators, Józef Nusbaum (1859-1933) and Szymon Dickstein (1858-1884). It came at a time of intensified discussion about the merits of Darwin’s theory (1882-1891) and covered four of his works, including the first complete Polish edition of On the Origin of Species (Warsaw 1884). The full biography of Darwin works published in the form of books in Poland by the end of the 19th century, included in the article, takes into account for the first time all known publishers’ and printers’ variants, and identifies original editions that were the basis of Polish translations.