John Glassie: A Man of Misconceptions

The Ivy Bookshop

John Glassie discusses his biography of 17th-century polymath Athanasius Kircher, a priest whose outlandish (to us) scientific theories involved him in the major controversies of his time.


By The Author

Athanasius Kircher's interests knew no bounds. From optics to music to magnetism to medicine, he offered up inventions and theories for everything, and they made him famous across Europe. His celebrated museum in Rome featured magic lanterns, speaking statues, the tail of a mermaid and a brick from the Tower of Babel. Holy Roman Emperors were his patrons, popes were his friends, and in his spare time he collaborated with the Baroque master Bernini.

But Kircher lived during an era of radical transformation, in which the old approach to knowledge - what he called "the art of knowing" - was giving way to the scientific method and modern thought. A Man of Misconceptions traces the rise, success and eventual fall of this fascinating character as he attempted to come to terms with a changing world.

With humor and insight, John Glassie returns Kircher to his rightful place as one of history's most unforgettable figures.


About the Author:

John Glassie, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, teaches at the Pratt Institute and through the New York Times Knowledge Network. He is the author of the photography book Bicycles Locked to Poles and has written for Salon, Wired, The New York Times, McSweeney's and The Believer. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.






Event Details

Time & DATE
Start: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 7:00pm
End: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 9:00pm



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