How Jonathan Swift Convinced Everyone His Enemy Was Dead

And other absurd, hilarious stories about history’s strangest literary objects from Edward Brooke-Hitching’s ‘The Madman’s Library’

Necromancy, from the Compendium of Demonology and Magic. Credit: Wellcome Library.
Treasure Hunters, from the Compendium of Demonology and Magic. Credit: Wellcome Library

Below, read my interview with author and book collector Edward Brooke-Hitching about Saddam Hussein’s Qu’ran written in his own blood, the theorized connection between the Voynich Manuscript and aliens, and why fresh air makes the best breakfast.

Which literary object in The Madman’s Library has the most bizarre story?

Triangular Book of St Germain cryptic. Credit: Getty Research Institute
Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Library, Yale University

What’s the greatest outstanding mystery from The Madman’s Library?

Formosan Idol of the Devil

If a film producer came to you and said they wanted to collaborate on a feature film/TV show about an object in The Madman’s Library, which one would you choose? Why?

Do you have a breakfast routine or do you tend to wing it? What does the routine consist of, if so? How important is this routine to you?

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.

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