Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Athansisus Kircher: Polymath

Report on Athanasius Kircher Symposium in 2002

On Thursday, at the NYU symposium, any trace of academic reserve vanished as the audience looked at the gorgeous and sometimes baffling images, projected on a screen behind the speakers. "Athanasius Kircher wrote more books than the modern scholar can read, in a mellifluous Latin," said Anthony Grafton, a history professor at Princeton University, during his introductory remarks. "In the age of polymaths, he was the most polymathic of all." The modern reader exploring "the staggeringly strange dark continent of Kircher's work" finds in it, Mr. Grafton said, "the setting for a Borges story that was never written." - From "Athanasius Kircher, Dude of Wonders" on the Chronicle of Higher Education website.

This may seem like old news to you, but the Dragon's perception of time is most likely a little different from yours. If you're looking for a new, obscure, esoteric subject to research, Athanasius Kircher, is a good place to start. He seems to be a "strange attractor" gathering wierdnesss about him like iron filings flocking to a magnet. The world is bound with secret knots, indeed.

Some places to start:
Wikipedia(of course)
The Museum of Jurassic Technology has an online exhibit on Kircher
The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society a blog
Stanford University has a collection of his correspondence online

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