Tag Archives: Books

9th Century: Mandrake

In that valley which encompasses the city on the north side there is a certain place called Baaras, which produces a root of the same name with itself; its color is like to that of flame, and towards the evenings … Continue reading

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1909: The Seven Ravens

The good little sister took a knife and cut off her own tiny finger, fitted it into the keyhole, and succeeded in opening the lock. When she had entered, she met a Dwarf, who said: “My child, what are you … Continue reading

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1390: And the Books Were Opened

Jacobello Alberegno’s polyptych of the Apocalypse was originally part of a much larger set of artworks in the church of the Benedictine convent of San Giovanni Evangelista on the Venetian island of Torcello; it is now on display in the … Continue reading

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250 BC: Thunder, Perfect Mind

In 1945, near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, a farmer named Muhammed al-Samman discovered a sealed jar containing thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices. Written in the Coptic language and collectively known as the Nag Hammadi Library, these writings are … Continue reading

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1832: The Destructive Sphinx

Illustrations from The Book of Butterflies, Sphinxes and Moths; illustrated by one hundred and forty-four engravings, coloured after nature; in three volumes (Thomas Brown, 1832-4)                  

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1629: The Most Trivial Disagreements

Such personal correspondence and diaries as survive suggest that social relations from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries tended to be cool, even unfriendly. The extraordinary amount of casual interpersonal physical and verbal violence, as recorded in legal and other … Continue reading

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1592: More Books on Books

All I can say is that you can feel from experience that so many interpretations dissipate the truth and break it up. Aristotle wrote to be understood: if he could not manage it, still less will a less able man … Continue reading

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1808: Squares Eight Times Eight

It was a fancy of the eccentric Mr. Pratt…to propose a game of Chess to a friend after dinner without Chessboard and men, and stipulate that instead of describing the moves with the usual prosaic abbreviations, a sort of poetical … Continue reading

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1933: Dreams of the Third Reich

A selection from Charlotte Beradt’s Dreams of the Third Reich. Beradt was a journalist in Germany when Hitler took power and, inspired by the first dream below “set out to collect the dreams the Nazi regime had generated”—which she did … Continue reading

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1802: The Eagle

William Blake: Headpiece to “The Eagle,” an illustration for William Hayley’s Ballads Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals (1802).

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