Why “Miscellany”?

The idea of a “commonplace” is not new. I’ve taken the title “Miscellany” from Faraday. Here’s an excerpt from a biography of Michael Faraday by Colin A. Russell.

By a great good fortune, in 1809 he (Michael Faraday) lighted on a book that had just been reprinted […] Its title could not have been more appropriate: The Improvement of the Mind. It was a famous work by a man well known not as a philosopher or scientist but as a writer of hymn. […] Among this book’s recommendations were assiduous reading, attendance at lectures, correspondence with others of similar mind, formation of discussion groups, and the keeping of a “commonplace” book in which to record facts and opinions that might otherwise be forgotten. Within a few weeks the industrious Faraday had begun a commonplace book of his own, formidably entitled The Philosophical Miscellany.

Let’s try this experiment, and see what we can learn on the way.