Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not Quite A Lady and the Philosophical Society

My copy of Loretta Chase's new novel Not Quite A Lady arrived yesterday. It went straight to the top of the TBR list and it is very good. However, every time she mentions The Philosphical Society, I get pulled out.
I keep wanting to know which one, and why do they always call it the Philosophical Society? My basic problem is that many years ago we used to belong to the Literary and Philosophical Society. We gave up membership once I had my eldest because the trek into Newcastle for me was too long and my dh did not really use it that much. An economy measure. The Lit and Phil is one of the few remaining independant libraries in England. Members can take out any book published after 1850. They also give lunch time concerts, maintain an excellent collection of music and an outstanding collection of tracts about local history. The Reading Rooms remain much as they were in 1825 when it first opened. George Stephenson demonstrated his miner's safety lamp and the Duke of Sussex laid the corner stone in 1822. It was founded in 1793.
The Manchester Lit and Phil opened later. The YPS -- Yorkshire Philosophical Society started in 1822 and is very involved in setting up the York Museum where I saw the exhibition of Constantine the Great last year.
The Bath Philosophical Society was founded in 1799 and later became the Bath Literary and Scientific Institute and then the Bath Royal Literay and Scientific Institue after first William IV and then Queen Victoria agreed to be the patron.
The Whitby Literary and Philosphical Society was founded in about 1822 as well. It too is a library and museum.
So as I am reading Not Quite A Lady -- I keep wondering which Philosophical Society are we talking about here as there was this movement... And why are they calling it The Philosophical Society as if there was only one. A small point but these societies did much to found musuems and preserve history as well as providing a place for better learning. But as a whole, Chase's latest is excellent and well worth a read.


Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, Michelle. Mea culpa. I am not quite sure how I went astray--brain damage? I was using the Philosophical Magazine as a reference and perhaps morphed that into the Philosophical Society? Or did I simply misread my notes? I know I had a reason for not using the Royal Society but can't remember what it was. So sorry. I try so hard not to bounce readers out of the story.

Michelle Styles said...

You must not be sorry.

It is the best sort of pulling out because it made me go and look up the Lit and Phil again. Note to self -- join again when next royality cheque arrives. I think it was also a case of being so pleased that anyone mentioned a Philosophical Society as far too often they are forgotten in historical romances but they were hugely Important.

I did enjoy NQAL very much.

Many thanks for stopping by.