Mar. 8th, 2016

hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) One thing I forgot to mention in my last post was that, although I in fact have been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack a fair amount, I spent the late winter being more drawn to another Alexander, von Humboldt. I read The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf, which is both a biography of Humboldt and a review of his huge scientific and cultural influence. (Actually, I listened to most of it, because it was out at the library and we had an Audible credit - not my favorite choice for this book, since I so often wanted to flip pages back and check on things. Read about the last fifth when the library hold came in. Will probably acquire it in paperback later.) Humboldt was an enormous figure in the 19th and long after his death into the early 20th century - internationally famous, hundreds of things named after him - and has practically vanished from our literacy now, mostly because he was a science generalist promoting broad-based theories, and the scientists of today are all specialists who seldom venture out of their chosen fields, whereas the general public shies away from both science and history, but also because at the time of WWI a lot of German historical figures got erased from American and English curriculums (and street and building names).

I had heard of Humboldt, because I read a fair amount of history of botany and he turns up there, and also because he figures peripherally in the Aubrey/Maturin books, but I had no idea of his importance in formulating some of the concepts that spurred theories of natural selection, evolution, climate change, etc., not to mention a lot of Romantic literature. He had a fascinating life and was a compelling person - so, book recommended! And I don't know if Humboldt would make a good musical, but should you want to write RPF about him, apparently he wouldn't have minded being slashed. (In case that makes you more inclined to read the book. I don't think it should.)

2) Have been spending too much time re-watching West Wing episodes, probably just as an antidote to Scandal (not to mention Real Life OMG), but I could use the excuse that I suddenly realized it's 2176 in the book I'm writing and there needs to be a presidential campaign. (Rose is at the end of her second term, so it's open.)

June 2016

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