“Traces of Thomas Hariot” by Muriel Rukeyser is one of those books I have found fascinating . It connects the dots in a period of time, showing just how interconnected men of science were despite the complications of communication and travel. I had studied Elizabethan Drama in school.
A renaissance man in the true sense of the word. As always, the context of time is important, Many of the theories to which Hariot subscribed were considered heresy; the reason he never published and was so secretive. He belonged to a group known as “the school of night“. Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and Christopher Marlowe were also members. Thomas Kyd was tortured to death because a of a letter containing heresy was found in his apartment; one that he had shared with Christopher Marlowe.
The author had to find references concerning Thomas Hariot since he could never publish. I was reminded of the search again when I was asked for a press review of my sailing achievements. As far as a I know there are none. So how do I prove my achievements, such as they are? I don’t exist without a piece of paper? Something we have all joked about; but I was suddenly faced with exactly that problem. More recently one is given a certificate of participation in many regattas and races, but nothing like that existed in my time.