Tag Archives: 17th Century

1639: Thoughts

From a letter written by James Howell, 17 March 1639: Having got into a close field, I cast my face upward, and…began to contemplate as I was in this posture the vast magnitude of the universe and what proportion this … Continue reading

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1605: Not the Author of Don Quixote

According to Miguel de Cervantes, Miguel de Cervantes is not the author of Don Quixote. Nor was the book written in Spanish. Rather, Cervantes tells us, the true author is Cid Hamete Benengeli, the book was written in Arabic, and … Continue reading

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1509: The Most Curious Book in the World

The following entry appears in Charles Carroll Bombaugh’s Gleanings from the Harvest Fields of Literature: A Melange of Excerpta, Curious, Humorous, and Instructive (1867): THE MOST CURIOUS BOOK IN THE WORLD The most singular bibliographic curiosity is that which belonged … Continue reading

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1648: This Page Intentionally Left Blank

The English Civil War began in 1642, pitting King Charles I against the English and Scottish parliaments. The King’s army initially held the upper hand, but after 1644 the rebellious Roundheads, under the command of Oliver Cromwell, began to gain … Continue reading

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1655: Remedies

Selections from Thomas Lupton’s book A Thousand Notable Things on Various Subjects: Disclosed from the Secrets of Nature and Art, Practicable, Profitable, and of Great Advantage: Set Down from Long and Curious Study and Experience (1655): The Soles of the … Continue reading

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1673: Life Being So Short and Books So Plentiful

In 1673, Antonio Magliabechi became librarian to Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was an eruidite scholar, fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and—according to his contemporary and biographer Giacinto Gimma—versed in physics, mathematics, rhetoric, grammar, history, … Continue reading

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1792: A Serious Social Menace

One afternoon in 1792, Lady Almeria Braddock and a certain Mrs. Elphinstone were having tea when the following exchange occurred: Mrs Elphinstone: “You have been a very beautiful woman.” Lady Almeria: “Have been? What do you mean by ‘have been’?” … Continue reading

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1675: Lightning

Francisque Millet: Mountain Landscape with Lightning (c. 1675)

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1665: Pyrophylaciorum

Systema Ideale Pyrophylaciorum Suberraneorum, quorum montes Vulcanii, veluti spiracula quaedam existant, an illustration from Athanasius Kircher’s 1665 Mundus Subterranous.

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1682: A Black Cloud of Strange Appearance

At Lynn, Mass., one evening in 1682, after the sun had set, and darkness had begun to throw its pall over the land, a man by the name of Handford went out of doors to ascertain if the new moon … Continue reading

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