Review

Two new books on the evolution of spectacles show them to be one of history's great inventions

By Colin Steele
May 6 2022 - 2:00pm
Making a spectacle: on the evolution of eyewear
  • Through the Looking Glasses: The Spectacular Life of Spectacles. Travis Elborough. Little Brown. $39.99.
  • In the Blink of an Eye: A Cultural History of Spectacles. Stefana Sabin. Reaktion Books. $34.99

In two new books, British cultural historian Travis Elborough and German biographer Stefana Sabin both trace the evolution of spectacles, which Elborough believes to be one of humanity's greatest inventions. Sabin provides a short cultural vignette of around 100 pages, while Elborough, in nearly 350 pages, provides a much more detailed historical and scientific account, although not ignoring the ever changing cultural impact of spectacles.

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