Monday, May 28, 2007

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.

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