Strange Stories from History for Young People
George Cary Eggleston
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Eggleston said of Antonio Canova",he was not only one of the most celebrated sculptors of his time, but one of the greatest, indeed, of all time". I've read a smattering of art history, and was not familiar with his name, so I looked him up. He was renowned during his day, but I don't know that many art historians would call him one of the greatest of all time. Eggleston also wrote about Michelangelo, who easily merits that title, but he called him "Michael Angelo", and even "Little Michael". I found Eggleston's story of Ivan the Terrible offensive. Eggleston states that as a boy, Ivan liked to drop dogs and cats from the top of the palace, and that "sentimental historians have construed these interesting experiments in the law of gravitation into wanton cruelty". And "another of the young czar's amusements was to turn famished pet bears loose upon passing pedestrians, and it is the part of charity to suppose that his purpose in this was to study the psychological and psysiognomical phenomena of fear". After more examples of the young czar's cruelty he states",In short, his boyish sports were all of an original and highly interesting sort". I give him credit for writing those comments with his tongue firmly in his cheek, but he's writing for children (despite the big words), and they can't always discern sarcasm. I'd recommend a pass on this book.