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  • I've been reading At Home by Bill Bryson, a book about the history of the 1851 parsonage that is his private residence in Hampshire, England. Bryson is a wonderful storyteller, and a keen social historian—and, as it happens, a fellow Iowan. The book has me thinking a great deal about the Victorian period in English history. The Victorians were the first generation to grapple on a huge scale with the direct knowledge of a suddenly vast, cold, and empty universe; they turned the instruments of sc…
  • (Quote)What interests me about this despair is how it seems to be brought on by the same materialism that in our philosophy is the very foundation of "joy, love, light, certitude, and help for pain". When this poem was written, Charles Lyell (Principles of Geology) had demonstrated to the general annoyance of the clergy that the Earth was older—far, far older—than six thousand years. Darwin had drafted (but not yet published) an essay to develop the theory of Natural Selection. Louis Pasteur wa…
  • I love Dover Bitch as well, Elayne. Delicious with irony! Certainly disposition is a factor, Cassius. Witness Cicero; (Quote)And probably there are degrees of disposition. Some would cease to miss the crutch after they had walked without it for a time.