Friday, February 24, 2012

Kircher's Musurgia Universalis


‘Monday 24 February 1667/68

Up, and to my office, where most of the morning, entering my journal for the three days past. Thence about noon with my wife to the New Exchange, by the way stopping at my bookseller’s, and there leaving my Kircher’s Musurgia to be bound, and did buy “L’illustre Bassa,” in four volumes, for my wife…’.

It’s good to learn, from his diary, that Samuel Pepys enjoyed his books.  Jesuit polymath Anathasius Kircher’s “Musurgia Universalis” was published in 1650.  Walter Scott was familiar with Kircher’s work, including his words in “The Antiquary”.

"The learned doctor is not infallible, I presume?" 

"No; but he is one of our first chemists; and this tramping philosopher of yours—this Dousterswivel—is, I have a notion, one, of those learned adventurers described by Kirchner, Artem habent sine arte, partem sine parte, quorum medium est mentiri, vita eorum mendicatum ire; that is to say, Miss Wardour"— 

"It is unnecessary to translate," said Miss Wardour—"I comprehend your general meaning; but I hope Mr. Dousterswivel will turn out a more trustworthy character."

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