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Athanasius, Underground

- November 1, 2012 in Art and Illustrations, Articles, athanasius kircher, Books, dragons, earthquake, giants, History, hollow earth, mount etna, mount vesuvius, Science, volcanoes

With his enormous range of scholarly pursuits the 17th century polymath Athanasius Kircher has been hailed as the last Renaissance man and “the master of hundred arts”. John Glassie looks at one of Kircher’s great masterworks Mundus Subterraneus and how it was inspired by a subterranean adventure Kircher himself made into the bowl of Vesuvius. Just before Robert Hooke’s rightly famous microscopic observations of everything from the “Edges of Rasors” to “Vine mites” appeared in Micrographia in 1665, the insatiably curious and incredibly prolific Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher published what is in many ways a more spectacular work. Mundus Subterraneus (Underground World), a two-volume tome of atlas-like dimensions, was intended to lay out “before the eyes of the curious reader all that is rare, exotic, and portentous contained in the fecund womb of Nature.” There is an “idea of the earthly sphere that exists in the divine mind,” Kircher proclaimed, and in this book, one of more than thirty on almost as many subjects that he published during his lifetime, he tried to prove that he had grasped it. As a French writer put it some years later, “it would take a whole journal to indicate everything remarkable in this [...]

The Eccentric Mirror: Reflecting a Faithful and Interesting Delineation of Male and Female Characters, Ancient and Modern (1807)

- November 12, 2011 in curiosities, dwarfs, eccentric mirror, georgian, giants, non-article, texts


The Eccentric Mirror: Reflecting a Faithful and Interesting Delineation of Male and Female Characters, Ancient and Modern, Collected and re-collected, from the most authentic sources, by G.H. Wilson; 1807; J. Cundee, London

Reports on a marvellous menagerie of weird and wonderful characters from the past and Georgian-present, including Daniel Lambert, a gaol keeper and animal breeder from Leicester, famous for his unusually large size, more than 50 stone, and the Polish-born 3-foot 3-inch Józef Boruwłaski who toured in European and Turkish courts, (and who incidentally met Mr Lambert amid much public interest in 1782).

Open Library link



Letters From a Cat (1879)

Castaway on the Auckland Isles: A Narrative of the Wreck of the "Grafton," (1865)


Infant's Cabinet of Birds and Beasts (1820)

Old French Fairytales (1920)

Armata: a fragment (1817)

An Account of the Late Improvements in Galvanism (1803)

The Medical Aspects of Death, and the Medical Aspects of the Human Mind (1852)

Quarles' Emblems (1886)

Cat and bird stories from the "Spectator" (1896)

Wonderful Balloon Ascents (1870)

The Book of Topiary (1904)

The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (1899)

English as She is Spoke (1884)

The Danger of Premature Interment (1816)

The Last American (1889)

Pirates (1922)

Napoleon's Oraculum (1839)

Horse Laughs (1891)

Hydriotaphia/Urn-Burial and The Garden of Cyrus (1658)

Across the Zodiac: the Story of a Wrecked Record (1880)

Superstitions About Animals (1904)

The Diary of a Nobody (1919 edition)

The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, Illustrated with the Zoopraxiscope (1882)

The Eccentric Mirror: Reflecting a Faithful and Interesting Delineation of Male and Female Characters, Ancient and Modern (1807)

Uriah Jewett and the Sea Serpent of Lake Memphemagog (1917)