I stumbled upon this 1884 title in my research for another post and figured I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it here. I don’t know much about the book’s author, Julian Sharman, other than that he’d also edited a collection of poetry by Mary Queen of Scots and a collection of John Heywood’s proverbs. And I’ll admit I’m not so much reviewing this thoroughly British book as I am admiring it as a curious artifact of its time.
Almost half a century into Queen Victoria’s reign, 1884 stands out as the year:
- the first fascicle of what would become the Oxford English Dictionary was published,
- the International Meridian Conference in Washington declared the Greenwich meridian the prime meridian, and
- a kooky rector mailed a stillborn baby to a member of Parliament as a “publicity stunt”
(none of which provide any relevant context for the book, unfortunately, but surely you didn’t expect me to learn about the so-called Home Office Baby and not pass the information along). Those Victorians sure knew how to party. Continue reading