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As Bad as Poisoned

Blair Worden: James I, 3 March 2016

The Murder of King James I 
by Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell.
Yale, 618 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21496 3
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... charge was false, but in the following year the political world was rocked by the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury in the Tower by agents of the wife of the king’s then leading minister, Overbury’s enemy the Earl of Somerset. The stories that came out, of the drugging of tarts and jellies and wine smuggled into the Tower, roused an intensity of interest ...

A Degenerate Assemblage

Anthony Grafton: Bibliomania, 13 April 2023

Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America 
by Denise Gigante.
Yale, 378 pp., £25, January, 978 0 300 24848 7
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... and Pollard’s Inquiry into the Nature of Certain 19th-Century Pamphlets, the exposé that dished Thomas J. Wise, forger of rare editions. It all seemed to contradict the rants of intellectuals about the barrenness of American culture. Many of the angelheaded hipsters whom I met busied themselves in learning Old Church Slavonic or translating ...

Let’s all go to Mars

John Lanchester, 10 September 2015

The Wright Brothers 
by David McCullough.
Thorndike, 585 pp., £22, May 2015, 978 1 4104 7875 7
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Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future 
by Ashlee Vance.
Virgin, 400 pp., £20, May 2015, 978 0 7535 5562 0
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... children went to school three months a year; the richest inhabitant was said to be ‘Doc’ Cogswell, based on the fact that his brother owed him $15,000. The locals began with the conviction that the Wrights were more than slightly insane, then gradually became persuaded that while that might well be true, it wasn’t the whole story: the brothers were ...

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