Banvard's Folly

by Paul Collins
Category: "World History - Cultural"
Year of Publication:2001
Date Added:08/05/2006
Date Read:08/05/2004
Notes:Subtitle: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World

Thirteen wry biographical essays about people, once famous, who have disappeared from memory. In 1903, the French physicist René Blondlot was so eager to follow up the recent discovery of X-rays that he discovered N-rays, which do not exist. In the 1840s, the American painter John Banvard gained international celebrity for his painting of the Mississippi River — a panorama which measured over fifteen thousand square feet. And in the 1790s, when England was suffering a fit of bardolatry, a London lawyer's clerk, William Henry Ireland, began "finding" Shakespeare documents. After these forgeries became collectors' items as forgeries, Ireland met the demand by making forgeries of his forgeries.
My Rating: 8

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