Reference numberL&P/10/81
TitlePaper, 'Observations on some Egyptian mummies opened in London' by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
Date15 December 1793
Description23 pages in German; two translations into English (14 pages and 10 pages) by Joseph Planta. Includes four figures (attached inside German copy)

Subject: Archaeology

Published in Philosophical Transactions, as 'Observations on some Egyptian mummies opened in London'

Read 10 April 1794
Physical descriptionInk on paper
Digital imagesView item on Science in the Making
NotesNote on the translations from a researcher:

'It seems that Planta translated the paper and then sent a draft of his translation (likely via Joseph Banks) to Blumenbach, who returned a list of corrections. Looking at letter 835 in Dougherty, F.W.P. 'The Correspondence of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach', Volume IV, 1791-1795 Letters 645–965, rev., augmented and ed. Norbert Klatt (Göttingen: Norbert Klatt Verlag, 2012), the page and line numbers of some of the proposed corrections correspond exactly to those in the 2nd version of the translation. So it seems that the second version is either the draft translation sent to Blumenbach and returned or, more likely, a copy of that translation kept in London and amended following Blumenbach’s suggestions. Looking at the corrections in pages 4-6 of the 2nd version (those covered by Letter 835), it seems that Planta addressed every area of concern to Blumenbach, but did not always adopt the latter’s suggestions.

Comparing the 2nd version, then, to the published text, there are a number of differences in capitalization, spelling, and punctuation (all matters in the hands of typesetters, presumably). Otherwise, the corrected 2nd version seems to be word-for-word the same as the published paper, except for: the insertion of references to figures; the insertion of a single “they” at one point for clarification; and the re-insertion of two notes (on pages 193 & 195 of the published version), which are in Blumenbach’s original German but omitted in the manuscript of the translation.

The 1st version of the translation would seem to be either the first version done by Planta sent to Blumenbach for correction or a draft of that version. On comparison, the 1st and 2nd versions are substantially the same, though the wording has in places in the second been tightened or corrected—sometimes between the two versions and sometimes on the 2nd version. In every instance, the published text follows the final amended text of the 2nd version.'
Access statusOpen
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rstl.1794.0017
Fellows associated with this archive
NA6723Blumenbach; Johann Friedrich (1752 - 1840)1752 - 1840
NA7198Planta; Joseph (1744 - 1827)1744 - 1827
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