If History is to be believed, the Renaissance Man (ie the man whose knowledge could encompass everything known to the world) died with the Renaissance. [Hence the name [ed]].
However, the twentieth century has thrown up several distinguished men (and possibly women though they lie outside the scope of this broadly sexist review) who might be thought to give the lie to such an assertion and one such is surely the polymath Professor Brian Thrupiece. A distinguished scholar and scientist (and the putative founder of the discipline of Culinary Bio-ethics) he was also a diplomat, photographer, astronaut, possibly a double agent and now - we learn - a comedian of the first rank.
Known throughout his lifetime to his friends and intimates (S L-S?) - many of whom gathered in the public bar of The King's Head Poole for late Sunday morning drinks - for his free-flowing wit, Professor Thrupiece has been variously described as "The Oscar Wilde (Heterosexual) of the Scientific World" and the "Les Dawson of the Laboratory". Wry, dry, witty, sardonic and acerbic, the Professor's fertile mind could find humour in almost anything and any situation. [Friends tell how he collapsed with uncontrollable laughter when an over-zealous male laboratory assistant became rigidly lodged in a test-tube when enthusiastically cleaning his pipes.]
Here in this splendid volume - another landmark collaboration between the RSCBE and the Threadbone Press - Mrs Amanda J Threadbone (in whose debt Thrupiece scholars already stand bankrupt) has gathered together aphorisms, witticisms and bon mots recalled by those who knew the Professor best. Indeed Mrs Threadbone has - through painstaking sifting of diverse and scattered original materials (including an off air recorded broadcast) - produced a concise cornucopia of good humour and a book which can be read with pleasure and profit in any room in the house: from from the sitting to the smallest.
It is hard to imagine that anyone could have done a finer job. As the Professor himself might have quipped: "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing". And there we have it - wit and wisdom in a single side-splitting phrase. Brilliant! Buy it! Now!!
Wit and Wisdom Combined: new this week from the RSCBE and the Threadbone Press