Bit of a blind spot

December 16, 2010

As a biographer of Henry Fawcett, I feel sure that he would have enjoyed having his photograph on the cover of THE (2 December). He was, after all, professor of political economy at the University of Cambridge from 1863 until his death in 1884.

But Fawcett may have been surprised by the caption you used beside the picture of him wearing tinted spectacles: "Can you see the big picture?" No, he could not, because Fawcett was blind; his eyes had been shot out by his father in a hunting accident when Fawcett was a young man. Methinks rather less "multidisciplinary research" (the subject of the article Fawcett was illustrating) and rather more Victorian history is in order.

Lawrence Goldman, Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press.

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