The Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men were five
volumes of Dionysius Lardner’s 133-volume Cabinet Cyclopaedia
(1829–46). Aimed at the self-educating middle class, this encyclopedia
was written during the 19th-century literary revolution in Britain that
encouraged more people to read. The Lives formed part of the Cabinet of
Biography in the Cabinet Cyclopaedia. The three-volume Lives of the
Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain and Portugal
(1835–37) and the two-volume Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and
Scientific Men of France (1838–39) consist of biographies of important
writers and thinkers of the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. Most of
them were authored by the Romantic writer Mary Shelley. Shelley's
biographies reveal her as a professional woman of letters, contracted
to produce several volumes of works and paid well to do so. Her
extensive knowledge of history and languages, her ability to tell a
gripping biographical narrative, and her interest in the burgeoning
field of feminist historiography are reflected in these works. At times
Shelley had trouble finding sufficient research materials and had to
make do with fewer resources than she would have liked, particularly
for the Spanish and Portuguese Lives. She wrote in a style that
combined secondary sources, memoir, anecdote, and her own opinions. The
Lives did not attract enough critical attention to become a bestseller.
Not reprinted until 2002, Mary Shelley's biographies have only recently
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Today's selected anniversaries:
San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's
oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus.
Gregory I became pope, the first one to come from a monastic
Egyptian Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in
Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris,
formally ending the American Revolutionary War.
The National Flag of Australia, a Blue Ensign defaced with the
Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross, flew for the first time atop
the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
The act of landing face first, as a result of an accident or error
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open
apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching
oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the
coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where
function does not change form does not change. The granite rocks, the
ever brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into
shape, and dies in a twinkling.
It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all
things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things
superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of
the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form
ever follows function. This is the law.
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