Gerolamo Cardano  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Gerolamo Cardano or Girolamo Cardano (French Jerome Cardan, Latin Hieronymus Cardanus; September 24, 1501September 21 1576) was an Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician, astrologer and gambler.

References in literature

Richard Hinckley Allen tells of an amusing reference made by Samuel Butler in his book Hudibras:

Cardan believ'd great states depend
Upon the tip o'th' Bear's tail's end;
That, as she wisk'd it t'wards the Sun,
Strew'd mighty empires up and down;
Which others say must needs be false,
Because your true bears have no tails.

Alessandro Manzoni's novel I Promessi Sposi portrays a pedantic scholar of the obsolete, Don Ferrante, as a great admirer of Cardano. Significantly, he values him only for his superstitious and astrological writings; his scientific writings are dismissed because they contradict Aristotle, but excused on the ground that the author of the astrological works deserves to be listened to even when he is wrong.

English novelist E M Forster's Abinger Harvest, a 1936 volume of essays, authorial reviews and a play, provides a sympathetic treatment of Cardano in the section titled 'The Past'. Forster believes Cardano was too absorbed in "self-analysis that he often forgot to repent of his bad temper, his stupidity, his licentiousness, and love of revenge" (212).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gerolamo Cardano" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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