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19th century engraving of the effects of laughing gas

A Dream of Fairyland: Conversazioni ... and more

Writer Horace Walpole is credited with the first English use of conversazione in a 1739 letter in which he writes, "After the play we were introduced to the assembly, which they call the conversazione." As this Italian borrowing was used through the years, it gained nuances of meaning and in England by the 19th century, conversazione also referred to assemblies and soirees of people connected with the arts or sciences. And at the Lit & Phil they lead they led to other things...

Portrait of Charles Hutton

Pit to Pi: The Life of Charles Hutton

The Lit & Phil has had many remarkable members in its 200 year history. Some are well known, such as Stephenson and Swan; in a new blog Chris Jackson of Heaton History Group has written about Charles Hutton who deserves to be much better known. Born in Newcastle, briefly a miner then a teacher, he became a hugely important mathematician and surveyor. 

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