Sunday, November 23, 2008

Darwins talking dirty

As a follow-up to my earlier post on Charles Darwin's smelly rude bits, readers might be interested to see that this week Emma Darwin has been writing about writing about sex—not CD's wife, his great-great-granddaughter, the novelist

Emma has made a contribution to a new compilation of erotic fiction just out called" In bed with..." and has just blogged on the problems of writing sex scenes. Emma points out that a major worry is being nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction award. Emma also notes that the key to success is that "you have to imagine is that your parents are dead". 

What would her illustrious great-great-granddad have made of all this?! Well, judging by his notebooks, the young Charles Darwin might have revelled in a bit of sexy fiction. But as an old man he was a bit of a prude. Here is what he had to say about contraception:
"I believe that any such practices would in time lead to unsound women & would destroy chastity, on which the family bond depends; & the weakening of this bond would be the greatest of all possible evils to mankind"
I guess that might allow some wiggle room for writing about sex inside marriage, but extra-marital sex is beyond the pale! Luckily for Emma, the old man  is long dead. But how about a new challenge for her next historical novel: writing about her great-great-grandfather in bed with her namesake? Or with some chambermaid during his riotous years as a student? The mind boggles! 

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