106 years ago, on March 24, 1905, the great writer and passionate traveler, the founder of the genre of science fiction, Jules Verne, died. The writer lived in the past and the future, on earth and underground, in the air, under water and on distant planets. Much of what he described in his novels will have a lasting place in the world in the future.
Jules Verne’s technical predictions include the invention of an airplane and helicopter, television and video communications, interplanetary travel (and the launch site chosen by the writer for the flight to the moon is located near the modern spaceport), space satellites and underwater spacesuits. But the submarine described in the novel “20 thousand leagues under the sea”, the invention of Jules Verne is difficult to call: the idea of creating a submarine was considered by Leonardo da Vinci, they tried to build it under Peter I and use it in the United States during the civil war. Continue reading
The threat to go to the gallows may seem unnecessarily harsh for stealing a book, but this is just one example of a long-standing tradition of book curses. Before the invention of the printing press in the West, the cost of a single book could be enormous. As explained by the scientist-specialist in the middle Ages Eric Kwakkel, theft of books in those days were more like stealing a car today. Today there is a car alarm, and then there were chains, chests and.. curses.
The earliest such curses date back to the seventh century BC. They are found in Latin, the languages of various European Nations, Arabic, Greek, and other languages. Curses existed in some cases even in the age of printing, gradually disappearing as books became cheaper. Continue reading