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Welcome to the Lit & Phil's Blog

Despite the current difficulties we really want to keep engaged with both our members and visitors. Our hope is to inform, entertain and possibly amuse you, offering at least some distraction from the current crisis. Don't forget to check our social media channels, too. We will do everything we possibly can to keep in touch.

Please note that all the contributions here are the views and opinions of the contributors! 

If you have any views or comments about the postings or would like to offer a blog entry of your own, then please contact us at our usual email address or through the contact form which you can instantly jump to by clicking on this highlighted text.

Meanwhile, as a fully independent library, the Lit & Phil relies for its survival on its members and their subscriptions and from generating its own income, particularly from events and bequests. Of course at the moment there are no events, so if you would like to support the Lit & Phil then you can use your mobile to make a contribution: 

Text Giving is easy... 
On your mobile text either:
LITANDPHILFIVE to 70450 to donate £5 or
LITANDPHILTEN to 70470 to donate £10 
Texts cost the donated amount plus one standard rate message.

Portals of Magic

A library or a bookshop can be a wonderous place with so much waiting to be discovered. Step through the doors for a magical experience.

A cartoon of Dr. Katterfelto

The Amazing Dr. Ketterfelto

The Lit & Phil has a long and honourable history of presenting talks and lectures of all kinds. One of the earliest, before the Society even had a permanent home in its current building, was given by Dr. Katterfelto in 1798 who was an entertaining mixture of showman, conjuror and scientist. Between his arrival in Hull in 1776 with his pregnant wife and black cat and his death in Bedale in 1799, he toured England and Scotland presenting his "Lectures and Surprising Experiments". It's a fascinating tale and one worth the retelling. 

Gallows

Blood and spooks

All too recently, hanging was a common punishment, even for what today would be regarded as relatively trivial offences. But how many of you who have given blood at the Blood and Transplant Centre on Barrack Road thought about its connection with the gallows?

Drawing of the Lit & Phil

The beginnings of the Lit & Phil

In the 18th century, Literary and Philosophical Societies began to flourish, and the Newcastle Lit & Phil was among the first (philosophy was the reference to Natural Philosophy, which is now called Science).

Here in Newcastle the founder members were mainly Unitarians who held the core belief that people came to salvation through education. There was also a shift at this time from an unquestioned belief in religious authority to faith in rational discourse and scientific enquiry, together with notions of individual freedom and authority.

Mus illustration

Minimus or Maximus?

Big or little, mouse or rat? Latin scholar Alan Beale looks how the latin word mus has become part of the English language - and not always in the most obvious ways!

Photo of Cinzia Hardy

My debt to the Lit & Phil

The November Club, the North East based performing arts company, has had a long, fruitful and enjoyable link with The Lit&Phil and has presented some memorable events and productions there. Outgoing artistic director Cinzia Hardy reflects on how that relationship developed and the rewards it has brought.

The Talented Ms Highsmith

Novelist Patricia Highsmith was born on the 19th January 1921. By all accounts a strange women with unpleasant views (although she was kind to snails) she was a hugely talented author and wrote 22 novels and many short stories including Stranger On A Train and the five novels about Tom Ripley.

Tales of Lost and Found - and Told

In December 2020 a small group of people met together at The Lit&Phil to celebrate the launch of Tales Lost and Found and Told, an event which was streamed live on YouTube. The initiative came from Cinzia Hardy, the then Artistic Director of The November Club and the tales were written by Fiona Ellis who has written a short blog about the background and making of the tales.

Computing comes clean

Many English words have Latin roots. In an informative, entertaining and witty blog, Lit&Phil member and Latin lecturer Alan Beale looks backwards to Latin and forwards to how some words have changed and developed in English.

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