During his career, a network of libraries linked bookmen to one another. Jonson, for example, used Francis Bacon’s library, and John Florio used the Earl of Southampton’s. Shakespeare probably knew John Bretchgirdle’s clergyman’s library in Stratford and printer Richard Field’s working library in London. Shakespeare referred to libraries as “nurser[ies] of arts” (in The Taming of the Shrew) and characterized them as treasure troves and cure-alls. Titus Andronicus invites Marcus Andronicus and Lavinia to “Come, and take choice of all my Library, / And so beguile thy sorrow.” The Tempest seems to have been written late in Shakespeare’s life. Many scholars have read it as his theatrical farewell, and the sorcerer Prospero as his alter ego. Prospero tells Miranda, “Me, poor man, my Library was dukedom large enough,” and later confesses: “Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me, from my own Library, / With volumes that I prize above my dukedom.”
Doubtful oral traditions have come down to us as well. One anecdote concerns Ben Jonson, with whom Shakespeare seems to have maintained a complex relationship of mutual affection and perpetual jousting. The anecdote sees Jonson “in a necessary-house” (in other words, on the lavatory) “with a book in his hand reading it very attentively.” Shakespeare notices Jonson thus engaged and says he is sorry Jonson’s memory is so bad he cannot “sh-te without a book.”
Over the decades, many names have passed into everyday parlance. Charles Dickens’s miser Scrooge has become synonymous with tight-fistedness and a hatred of the festive season. And when scientists discovered that pining for a lost love can be physically addictive, they dubbed it the “Miss Havisham effect” after the tragic, jilted recluse in Great Expectations.
Superconductors haven’t seen widespread commercial applications due to their cost, the effort required to produce them, and perhaps reluctance by old-school companies to adopt such a radically new material, reports IEEE Spectrum. But a room-temperature superconductor could drastically decrease energy costs and might end up in new technologies that scientists haven’t even dreamed of yet.
Now feels like a turning point: lanthanum hydride is the closest a room-temperature superconductor has felt to reality. But visiting with Geballe at the Geophysical Laboratory, it was hard to imagine the slivers of the material—smaller than the width of a human hair—fashioned into a wire or used in any technology at all. Nor is that the point. Materials scientists are working at the boundary of the present and the future, performing grueling, hands-on research hoping to develop substances that might not even have any applications.
From a younger generation facing personal crises to the dilemmas of the ageing but vibrant Posy, Riley brings us a cast of exquisitely drawn characters and as you slip effortlessly into their lives and share their hopes, dreams and fears, prepare to be intrigued, moved to tears… and ultimately uplifted.
If you value the power of online relationships, be it through fandom or ones that helped you to keep you connected to old friends, add Starworld to your to-read list. As someone with friendships made entirely possible by online communication stemming from fandom, it is a sober reflection on what a gift it is to have that space to share in the joy, drama, and eventually grow close enough to take the scary step of moving apart from the thing that brought you together.
Robert McKee has built an empire out of his screenwriting manuals – it’ll cost you close to $1,000 to attend one of his seminars. Storr’s superb exploration of the enduring appeal of the novel feels like it could do something similar – offering a smart, fascinating exploration of the science and psychology behind our most sophisticated art form that also works as an effective how-to guide.
I don’t want to sound unreasonable
but I need to be in love immediately.
I can’t watch this sunset
on 14th Street by myself.