The Library of Useless Knowledge, الجزء 1

الغلاف الأمامي
William Pickering, 1837 - 52 من الصفحات
"The full title pokes fun at a well-known series called 'The Library of Useful Knowledge', promoted by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (active 1826-1846). Composed primarily of wealthy, reform-minded gentlemen, the SDUK sought to make esoteric science and math related subject matter accessible to the middle and working classes through cheaply-printed (and therefore affordable) material. The Society saw some early success in sales and persuaded important thinkers like David Brewster and Augustus De Morgan to write for the publication. But the progressive aims of the SDUK were not without their detractors, and many considered the Society a radical and dangerous operation, inspiring the lower classes to aim above their social order. Given the choice of title, Clarke's work certainly contains political undercurrents; however, the tone remains light, being first and foremost a work of humor, at times bordering on absurdity. Several contemporary references to the text make it clear that although it was admired for its wit, the book was notoriously difficult to understand. The poet Edward Fitzgerald called it 'the most untranslatable book in the world' (Life and letters, p.137), while the review in 'The Gentleman's Magazine' recommended it specifically 'to the attention of the country clergy, who will find it a charming relaxation from their severer studies' (1838, vol. 9, p. 295)."--Antiquarian bookseller's description, 2014.

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