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3Episodes
Category: Arts:Books

A Man with a Cat narrates unusual and sometimes forgotten works of English language Non-Fiction, Poetry and Prose.

December 5, 2019

The O.P. Mania and Follies of Great Cities

An audience revolts against the proprietors at London's preeminent theatre. And what catchphrases, songs and slang might you have heard on the streets of early 19th century London? Two subjects, both described in this episode of Esoteric Reads, as taken from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, an early study of crowd psychology by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay.

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November 25, 2019

The Mississippi Scheme

 

John Law was a man ahead of his time. In the early 18th century, he persuaded the Kingdom of France to adopt a system of paper money, and effectively construct a parallel fiat currency. It was an emotional experience for everyone, particularly those Frenchmen and women clapped in irons and shipped overseas to Louisiana.

It would be another two and a half centuries (and a couple of world wars) before the rest of the World would switch to fiat currencies, which is to say that the money of those nations would be backed not by an asset, like a pile of gold bars in a locked vault, but instead backed by... well, nothing much at all really, other than the presumption that a nation would continue to exist, to pay its bond coupons, and to hopefully not hyper-inflate the currency away to vapour. Surprisingly this system seems to be working for much of the world. Let's find out whether it worked for John Law.

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November 18, 2019

Thugs

Dating back as early as the 1300s, Thugs were a secret criminal group, partly hereditary in membership, who specialized in the murder by strangulation of travelers as a prelude to theft. Or maybe they were a fanciful invention of an overzealous Colonial administrator. Regardless, they were a subject of fascination to the early Victorians, who were regaled in both News and Fiction about these mysterious assassins of the Raj.

In the penultimate episode of this season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading the chapter on Thugs (or Phansigars) from "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841.

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November 5, 2019

The Alchemists - Part Five

To what extent was Alchemy complicit in the fall of the Aristocracy and the birth of the French Revolution? In this episode, you'll hear about The Count de St Germaine, Cagliostro and the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, and how Italians resolve civil conflicts.

In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. On tonight's episode, we conclude our discussion of The Alchemists.

The Elixir Vitae... The Philosopher's Stone... All will be revealed.

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October 14, 2019

The Alchemists - Part Four

The Rosicrucians. Immortal Sages and Scholars, or a bunch of Blaggers and Chancers? In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. On tonight's episode, we continue our discussion of The Alchemists.

The Elixir Vitae... The Philosopher's Stone... All will be revealed.

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October 7, 2019

The Alchemists - Part Three

In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. On tonight's episode, we continue our discussion of The Alchemists.

The Elixir Vitae... The Philosopher's Stone... All will be revealed.

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October 2, 2019

The Alchemists - Part Two

In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. On tonight's episode, we continue our discussion of The Alchemists.

The Elixir Vitae... The Philosopher's Stone... All will be revealed.

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September 22, 2019

The Alchemists - Part One

In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. On tonight's episode, we begin our discussion of The Alchemists.

The Elixir Vitae... The Philosopher's Stone... All will be revealed.

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September 13, 2019

The Crusades. Part Four - The Last Crusades

In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. On tonight's episode, we continue with Mackay's chapter discussing the Crusades, this time with a mega blow-out double two-for-one Crusade deal with an extra special bonus. This episode covers the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth Crusades. But wait, there's more... we're also covering The Children's Crusade, which wasn't really a Crusade, and more like slavery with extra steps.

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September 1, 2019

The Mueller Report - Volume II (Part Six)

In this Season of Esoteric Reads, I'm reading the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III.

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