Avoid Cholera with a Healthy Beard, and Other News
May 16, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Say Jesus Christ dictates a book to you in a dream—who holds the copyright? Is it you or is it Jesus of Nazareth?
- “Donne, in one of his regrettably few statements about how ‘Metricall compositions’ are made, referred to the putting together of a poem as ‘the shutting up.’ An unfortunate term, and we could use a better one; because there can’t be much doubt that the shaping of a poem is also a pressure, in which the binding energy of the poem brings everything inside its perimeter to incandescence.”
- Let’s give franchise novels their due: “It’s a plain fact of publishing life that more people will read the latest Star Wars franchise novel than all the books shortlisted for last year’s Booker prize put together.”
- Unsurprisingly, nineteenth-century medical texts are full of disturbingly wondrous illustrations.
- While we’re on medicine in the nineteenth century: doctors in the Victorian era recommended that men grow beards to stay healthy. “The Victorian obsession with air quality saw the beard promoted as a sort of filter. A thick beard, it was reasoned, would capture the impurities before they could get inside the body. Others saw it as a means of relaxing the throat, especially for those whose work involved public speaking.”