A. P. Herbert


A Better Sky, London 1944




A. P. Herbert

A Better Sky, London 1944



Pubblico di seguito la divertente presentazione del breve libro di A. P. Herbert, pubblicata su Facebook il 14 giugno 2024 da Bob McNaught, persona più attiva del gruppo Vintage Astronomy Boox. Libro nel quale l’autore sostituisce i nomi classici delle costellazioni e delle stelle con altri presi da personaggi della storia moderna, dalla geografia, dalla scienza moderna e da momenti della vita quotidiana.






 A Better Sky by A. P. Herbert

London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1944. The 1st edition with another in the same year.

Pictorial soft wraps with a multiple folding chart of the heavens.

"But what, it will be said, is wrong with the old names which have served the stars for so long? They are, for the most part, inept, unfitting, unworthy of the stars and the human race … They are unrelated, meaningless, difficult to distinguish, pronounce, and remember … [and on like this for a couple of pages]" - The author.

"And do not fear that the Better Sky is narrowly and offensively British. Look across the sky, to the other side of the Pole Star - which, by the way, I name the Statue of Liberty … Now in a great ring round the Statue of Liberty I set the United Nations, or most of them … China takes Cygnus, and Deneb, the bright star, is Chiang Kai-Shek." - Says the author, after putting the 3 northern stars in Orion to Admiral Nelson, Captain Cook and Sir Richard Hawkins (who seems to have pillaged everyone who was not English on his piratical travels). He also seems to be "narrowly and offensively" chauvinist; somehow finding space for a single constellation for women (The Women).

Sirius becomes Smuts - "Jan Smuts (1870–1950), a South African statesman, military leader and prime minister of the Union of South Africa." - Wikipedia, "also a vocal supporter of segregation of the races". So we might have had mixed emotions looking forward to the dog days after the heliacal rising of Smuts.

I could go on; it gets worse the more one studies it. I can only hope he was trying to be funny.

"The president of the Society yesterday brought your letter … together with the enclosed article and chart 'A Better Sky', before the council … your suggestion of changing the nomenclature of the stars was received with appreciation. At the same time it was felt that … the adoption of such a change would require international agreement, which is clearly impractical at the present time." - Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Biografia di

A. P. Herbert








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