Darwin

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About the illustrator

Mary Kuper is a London based artist and illustrator, interested in words, images and how they work together. You can see more of her work on her website

Darwin in Ilkley

Andrew Mitchell Recital Bradford

Picture courtesy of Telegraph & Argus, Bradford, UK

Charles Darwin spent fifteen months writing his ‘Origin of Species’ and completed the final corrections on I October 1859. He was already completely exhausted by September of that year, being barely able to pick up or carry anything. On 4 October he took a train for Leeds and then the coach to the Rose and Crown in Ilkley.

Darwin had become a follower of Dr James Gully who developed his ‘Water Cure’ at the hydrotherapy centre at Malvern. This included bathing and being vigorously scrubbed in cold spring water, having cold compresses placed round the body and walking exercise. Darwin felt unable to return to Malvern after the death of his daughter Annie there in 1851. Instead he sought out pupils of Dr Gully and attended their establishments.

Live Performance

The poem was performed in the Richard Attenborough Theatre at the University of Leicester with music and sea shanties provided by: Jerry Simon, Emily Irving-Witt, Peter Abbott and Sharon Kraus.

Here is the audio recording of the event in full (50 minutes).


Taking The Waters

Taking The Waters

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He lies corpse blue in cold
spring water, not yet dawn when towelled
in the dark, hissing teeth chatter
Continue reading

Setting Out

Setting Out

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Light easterly, long wished for as a flock of sailors settle in the rigging, white as spreading sails. Tremulous anticipation and elation as the capstan turns and Beagle shanties out of Plymouth, lurching with sickening motion. Continue reading

Bahia

Bahia

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A town held bosomed in lush forest, its white faced convents and porticoed colonnades led naturally into columned trees, whose canopied leaves Continue reading

Fazenda

Fazenda

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The disembodied scream of a peacock, floating
on the night air, disturbed his sleep. Half
waking, the qualities of dream returned him amongst
the thatch and whitewashed walls, the gentility
of gilded chairs and resplendent sofas. Continue reading