The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 8, 2011

December 8, 1949

Although Blll Bryson (born December 8, 1951, in Des Moines, Iowa) is an American , he married a British nurse and his writing career blossomed in Great Britain. He is the author of many books, and has a history in journalism, as the copy editor of the business section of The Times, and similar work at The Independent. He is currently Chancellor of Durham University.

In 2004 he won the Aventius Prize for best general science book, for A Short History of Nearly Everything.(2003).  In 2007 he was awarded the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin. Our excerpt is from A Short History of Private Life, (2010). Here, discussing 19th century domestic realities, Bryson notes that, in reference to Victorian bakeries--

It wasn't always that foreign substances were introduced with the intention of bulking things up. Sometimes they just fell in. A parliamentary investigation of bakeries in 1862 found many of them filled with "masses of cobwebs, weighted down with flour dust that had accumulated upon them, and, hanging in strips, ready to drop into any passing pot or tray. Insects and vermin scurried along walls and countertops. A sample of ice cream sold in London in 1881 was found to contain human hair, cat hair, insects, cotton fibers,and several other insalubrious constituents, but this probably reflected a lack of hygiene rather than the fraudulent addition of bulking agents...The very fact that these matters attracted the attention of newspapers indicates that they were exceptional events rather than routine ones.

Also in 2010 he edited: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society.
His many other books include The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way (1990).

No comments: