Tuesday, 20 August 2013

"Darwin took up his pen"

"In the gaps of time, morning and night, Darwin took up his pen.  He wrote indoors, balancing a cushion on the arm of his chair and resting his writing board on it; in the heat of summer he wrote in his summer-house, its windows opening over the river; on the way to see patients, he wrote in his carriage, the front of which 'was occupied by a receptacle for writing paper and pencils, likewise for a knife, fork and spoon; on one side was a pile of books reaching from the floor to nearly the front window ...  on the other, a hamper containing fruit and sweetmeats, cream and sugar'.  As well as countless letters, Darwin was writing on clouds and spa water and piling up material for his Zoonomia, his ever expanding work on diseases.   And all the time his poem lay on his desk, acquiring new touches and more notes."

The Lunar Men  Jenny Uglow
[quotation from The Life of Mary Anne Schimmel-Penninck, ed. C. Hankin]

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