Darwin Advised Not To Publish Theory
Darwin was advised not to publish his theory
Charles Darwin, whose theory on "Origin of Species" remains a cornerstone of biology, would have ended up getting a rejection letter if his publisher had heeded the advise to turn down his manuscript and ask him to write about pigeons instead.
The near-miss was unearthed in 150-year-old correspondence between Darwin`s publisher, John Murray, and a clergyman, the Rev Whitwell Elwin, The Times reported today.
Elwin was one of Murray`s special advisers, part of a literary panel that was the Victorian equivalent of a modern focus group.
He was asked by the London publisher for his opinion of Darwin`s new work, which challenged Old Testament ideas of Creation. Elwin disapproved.
Writing back from his rectory in Norwich on May 3, 1859, he urged Murray not to publish.
Darwin`s theories were so "farfetched, prejudiced and badly argued that right-thinking members of the public would never believe them," he said.
"At every page I was tantalised by the absence of the proofs," Elwin wrote, adding that the "harder and drier" writing style was also off-putting.