Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lady With the Lamp

My latest book from Audiobooks was a biography of Florence Nightingale.

What surprises!

1. It was a children's book.

2. Written in 1909.

3. It was pleasant to listen to, even though it was hagiography. The worship of saints can give you a nice feeling of awe. I also enjoyed hearing the poetry that was read--including "The Charge of the Light Brigade." And the asides intended for children. And the old language -- I hadn't heard "fuss and feathers" in quite a while!

4. The author mentions that her father once gave F. Nightingale some career advice.

5. Miss N. was alive when the book was written! In her 90s!

I checked up on Miss N. in Wikipedia, and learned that she had apparently had an affair with Ben Jowett, the classics scholar...that she was into statistics...and that, yes, she had some nervous breakdowns...and that she might have been bipolar. Nothing about a report that she didn't believe in the germ theory of disease.

The Wikipedia article contained an offensive word, which I moved heaven and earth to have removed.

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