Punch,  13 (1847), 113.

Our Fast Man on Literary and Scientific Institutions

A Fast Man


Letter, Spoof; Editorial, Drollery


Societies, Education, Progress, Amusement, Prognostication, Artisans

People mentioned:

Justus von Liebig

    Written from the perspective of the 'Fast Man', Punch's hedonistic character. He is extremely gratified that 'two or three of your Literary and Scientific Societies' have been 'smashed'. Deflecting accusations of 'arresting the enlightenment', the narrator boasts that he has 'flummoxed the Literature and Science shops' with such popular amusements as 'casinos'. Points out that 'clerks and shopmen' would prefer 'conjuring tricks' to 'chemical experiments' and hopes that the 'Wizard of the North' (the magician, John Henry Anderson) will 'snuff out' Michael Faraday. Insists that scientific knowledge is useless to mechanics and tradesmen, and that such people thirst for a 'half-and-half' rather than knowledge. Objects to training the 'habits of thought', since the 'Human Mind prefers a lark to a lecture'. Punch adds that the Fast Man's conviction that he has destroyed scientific and literary societies suggests that he is 'essentially an Ape'.

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