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Under the Moon: Lunar Library Displays

Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon lands at Exeter Cathedral on 3 February and is staying until 27 February. During this time, we will be showcasing some of the Cathedral Library’s finest lunar literature. Here’s a taste of some of the books that will be on display.

Robert Hooke ‘Micrographia’ (1665)

“I am not unapt to think, that the Vale [on the moon] may have Vegetables analogous to our Grass, Shrubs, and Trees…such as the short Sheep pasture which covers the Hills of Salisbury Plains”.

This is the heading Bishop John Wilkins ‘A discourse concerning a new world & another planet’ (1640)

“’tis likely enough, that there may be a meanes invented of journeying to the Moone; And how happy they shall be, that are first successful in this attempt”

Richard Mead ‘Of the Power and influence of the Sun and Moon on Humane Bodies’ (1712)

“A certain man from his infancy, till the Twenty fourth Year of his Age, had always every full Moon a Flux of Blood from his left Thumb; at first only Ounces, but after he was sisteen years Old it floweed half a Pound”

William Shakespeare ‘Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, and tragedies; published according to the true originall copies’ (1632)

Romeo and Juliet Act 2: Scene 2

Romeo: Lady, by yonder Moone I vow: That tips with silver all these Fruite-tree tops.
Juliet: O sweare not by the Moone, th’inconstant Moone, That monethly changes in her circled Orbe, Least that thy Love prove likewise variable.
Romeo: What shall I sweare by?
Juliet: Do not sweare at all:   Or if thou wilt sweare by thy gratious selfe, Which is the God of my Idolatry, And Ile believe thee.

Johannes Hevelius ‘Selenographia’ (1647)

“What, I wonder, would the science of astronomy be like, if we could not properly discriminate among the stars themselves. Without the use of unique names, all observations, both ancient and modern, would be useful to nobody, and the books describing these things would seem to us to be more like enigmas rather than descriptions and explanations”

Galileo Galilei ‘Sistema Cosmicum’ (1641)

“If you could see the earth illuminated when you were in a place as dark as night, it would look to you more splendid than the moon.”

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

“In these days, when Alexander was born, the Romans were frightened by dreadful signs. For one saw the sun fighting with the moon; and rocks sweated blood. In the daytime many moons appeared in the sky. The night in large measure yielded to the day.”