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Post Info TOPIC: Thinkers of the day


Initiate

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Posts: 66
Date: Jul 24 7:49 PM, 2018
RE: Thinkers of the day
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Yes, good one about Swift - very clever to notice that.  I have just read in "The Stranger From the Sea" where Dwight introduces Humphrey Davy to Ross.  Dwight and Davy had corresponded for ten years and met three or four times which I must say makes Dwight Enys seem like a real person!  I looked up H. Davy on the internet and he certainly was as WG says "the brightest light in the scientific world of the day".  I had heard of the Davy Lamp and laughing gas which he had a part in.  And he also wrote poetry.



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Graduate

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Posts: 534
Date: Jul 23 12:22 PM, 2018
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I'd forgotten about Swift. Good one.



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Fan

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Posts: 36
Date: Jul 23 12:42 AM, 2018
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Dark Mare wrote:

We have a 19-year-old Caroline Penvenen spouting Malthus' since-disproven thoughts on populations and food supplies. (...) Yet I find no references to Adam Smith or his "Wealth of Nations," (...)


In fairness, though, Malthus's name is never explicitly mentioned, whether by Caroline or the others. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, his Essay on the Principle of Population wasn't published until 1798, which is surely later than the point when Caroline makes her statement to Dwight in the books. But then, it is likely that the idea was in circulation for some time before it made its way into a publication - so I don't really have a problem with Caroline spelling it out a bit early.

My main reason for writing all of the above, however, was to say that perhaps the lack of mention of Adam Smith in the books is similar to Malthus's case - in that the omission is more in name than in thought/influence. Clearly, in many ways Ross's thinking aligns with that of Smith - he believes in labour as an ultimate source of prosperity, as opposed to the mercantilist principle of accumulating gold and silver (which, by the way, seems embodied in the books by George), and in general supports free trade, e.g. by:

(1) being in favour of smuggling rather than high customs duties on imported goods,

(2) being against the Corn Laws which benefitted the exporters of grains,

(3) being against collusion among the major copper smelting companies to keep the price of the ore down.

As for noting other references, I remember the first time I was reading this passage in the pilchards scene: "Sometimes the moonlight seemed to convert the fish into heaps of coins, and to Ross it looked like sixty or eighty darkfaced sub-human pygmies scooping at an inexhaustible bag of silver.", my immediate thought was: Has Ross been reading his "Gulliver's Travels"? How excited I was, then, to find a confirmation in the next book - when during their quarrel at the Assembly Ball Ross tells Demelza: "These people and their stupidity. Look at their fat bellies and gouty noses, and wagging dewlaps and pouchy eyes: overfed and overclothed and overwined and over-painted. I dont understand that you find pleasure in mixing with them. No wonder Swift wrote of em as he did."



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Administration

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Posts: 1749
Date: Jul 20 1:54 AM, 2018
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Long time since I read the books but on a more general level off the top of my head Dwight and I think an eminent French Doctor's theories who he was hoping to meet sooner or later. Jeremy and Richard Trevithick with his steam waggon and his high pressure steam engine, plus Harvey's of Hayle. Sam and John Wesley, increasing Welsh mining influences at the time and the Carnmore Copper company. Ross and his interesting meeting with Colquhoun Grant the Duke of Wellington's head of intelligence then WG's excellent description of the battle. The stagecoach robbery which I think was based on a real one at the time. Clowance and her business involvement with the shipping world after Stephen died, the rotten boroughs and so on all of which WG had researched thoroughly making the books so authentic and interesting....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Trevithick

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_(ironfounder)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colquhoun_Grant_(British_intelligence_officer)



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Graduate

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Posts: 534
Date: Jul 19 11:23 PM, 2018
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One of the things I like about the Poldark books is the way they weave the thoughts and theories of thinkers of the day into this sprawling story. We have a 19-year-old Caroline Penvenen spouting Malthus' since-disproven thoughts on populations and food supplies. We have Ross embracing some if not all of Thomas Paine's "The Rights of Man." (Maybe like Americans of his time, he liked Paine better in his "Common Sense" days.) Yet I find no references to Adam Smith or his "Wealth of Nations," which seems odd considering how often the Poldark books turn to the economic issues of their day and illustrate their effects on one corner of Cornwall and how influential the book, published in 1776, was in its own time and has been in the two centuries since.

Has anyone else found interesting or surprising inclusions or omissions of references to notable books and thinkers of the Poldarks' times? From the field of medicine, perhaps? Some other science? Philosophy? Political thought? Literature? Poetry? 

 

 

 

 



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