Banvard's Follyby Paul Collins
"World History - Cultural"|
|Year of Publication:||2001|
|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.