Playwright to focus on Darwin's 'dangerous book'

Charles Darwin letter,

Playwright Peter Arnott has been appointed John Murray Archive writer in residence.

Glasgow-born Arnott has written over 25 plays, including the award-winning The Breathing House. In 2007 he received a Creative Scotland Award from the Scottish Arts Council.

During his residency at the National Library of Scotland he will lead workshops and create and produce dramatic works relating to Charles Darwin correspondence in the archive. His focus will be on letters about the publication of On the Origin of Species, published by John Murray in 1859.

Arnott describes Darwin's best-known work as 'the single most dangerous book ever written'. It caused considerable concern even before it was published, as the archive reveals. One of Murray's literary advisers, the Rev Whitwell Elvin, urged that the scientist's manuscript be rejected. He suggested that Darwin should write instead about pigeons.

 Read more in our writer in residence media release

13 February 2008

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