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Facts all come with points of view

This week on our Karr on Culture podcast: An NPR librarian considers all facts

Karr on CultureKee Malesky has spent more than 20 years answering questions for the talking heads at National Public Radio: How much junk is there in space? Which Congress had the most appointed Senators? Who first said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture“? She’s distilled what she’s learned into a book: “All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge.” She says — contra David Byrne — that facts are neither simple nor straight.


  • Vigo

    I liked the segment very much.

  • Jim Curran

    Ms. Malesky,
    I have read with pleasure your book, All the Facts Considered.  Some of the entries I thought had some errors or at least were not fully explained.  But one jumped off the page that was a true factoid.
    In “Four Universal Frankensteins” you say that “Frankenstein is not the name of the monster, it is the name of the scientist who fabricated him; in the book he named this creation Adam.”
    This is incorrect.  The name Adam is only mentioned three times in the text and each time it is used by the monster:
    “Remember that I am thy creation; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.” (Kindle location 1143)
    “Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence….” (Kindle location 1539)
    “I remembered Adam’s supplication to his Creator. But where was mine?” (Kindle location 1566)
    If the monster was given a proper name it was by Shelly herself in letters she wrote of the work, “The Modern Prometheus.”  However the name is not found in the text itself.
    The most frequent reference to the monster in the text (other than “monster” or “fiend”) is “wretch” and the next most frequent reference, “daemon”,
    I like the wretch.  It carries a greater emotional impact.
    Jim Curran,