Academy,  2 (1870–71), 368–70.

[Review of Select English Works of John Wyclif, edited by Thomas Arnold]

Walter W Skeat



Publications reviewed:

Wyclif 1869–71


Narcotics, Temperance, Medical Practitioners, Health, History of Science, Light, Christianity, Astronomy, Heterodoxy

    Notes that from these medieval poems 'we obtain the curious notion that it was an opinion seriously entertained by the physicians of the days of Edward III. that it was expedient for a man's general health that he should take care to get drunk once a month, because much good comes thereof'. Also observes that in one poem 'we have a lesson in science, proving that the duration of the impression of an image upon the retina for an appreciable time was perfectly understood' by the people of the Middle Ages. Indeed, it was understood that 'a spark of fire, turned about in a dark night, seems to make a circle' because 'men's sight holds the print (holdes prent) of a thing before-seen for a little short while', and from this it was argued 'that God's sight may well retain images still longer'. Adds that 'This is really an anticipation of the very remarkable argument so ably worked out in a curious anonymous publication, entitled The Stars and the Earth, which appeared in 1854'. (369)

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