FYI March 25, 2017

On this day:

1811 – Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from the University of Oxford for publishing the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism.
The Necessity of Atheism
“The Necessity of Atheism” is an essay on atheism by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, printed in 1811 by C. and W. Phillips in Worthing while Shelley was a student at University College, Oxford. An enigmatically signed copy of the short tract was sent to all the heads of Oxford colleges at the University. At that time the content was so shocking to the authorities that he was rusticated for contumacy in his refusing to deny authorship, together with his friend and fellow student, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, who may have been co-author. A revised and expanded version of the text was included as one of the notes to Shelley’s poem Queen Mab in 1813, and some reprints with the title The Necessity of Atheism are based on this rather than the 1811 pamphlet.[1]

The tract starts with the following rationale of the author’s goals:
“As a love of truth is the only motive which actuates the Author of this little tract, he earnestly entreats that those of his readers who may discover any deficiency in his reasoning, or may be in possession of proofs which his mind could never obtain, would offer them, together with their objections to the Public, as briefly, as methodically, as plainly as he has taken the liberty of doing.”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Necessity of Atheism

Shelley made a number of claims in Necessity, including that one’s beliefs are involuntary, and, therefore, that atheists do not choose to be so and should not be persecuted. Towards the end of the pamphlet he writes: “the mind cannot believe in the existence of a God.”[2] Shelley signed the pamphlet, Thro’ deficiency of proof, AN ATHEIST,[2] which gives an idea of the empiricist nature of Shelley’s beliefs. According to Berman, Shelley also believed himself to have “refuted all the possible types of arguments for God’s existence,”[3] but Shelley himself encouraged readers to offer proofs if they possess them.

Opinion is divided upon the characterisation of Shelley’s beliefs, at the time of the writing of Necessity. At the very beginning of his note on the line “There is no God” in Canto VII of Queen Mab, published just two years later and based on Necessity, Shelley qualifies his definition of atheism:

“There Is No God. This negation must be understood solely to affect a creative Deity. The hypothesis of a pervading Spirit co-eternal with the universe remains unshaken.”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab, Canto VII, Note 13

Shelley also quotes the Dutch pantheist Benedict Spinoza later in the Note,[4] but there is no explicit statement of pantheistic views.

Shelley scholar Carlos Baker states that “the title of his college pamphlet should have been The Necessity of Agnosticism rather than The Necessity of Atheism,”[5] while historian David Berman argues that Shelley was an atheist, both because he characterised himself as such, and because “he denies the existence of God in both published works and private letters”[3] during the same period.

Although The Necessity of Atheism is often attributed solely to Shelley, historian of atheism David Berman says that Shelley “was probably assisted by his friend T.J. Hogg”.[6]

The original pamphlet was described by Percy Vaughan as “a single foolscap sheet folded in octavo, consisting of half-title (with blank reverse), title page… (with blank reverse), Advertisement (with blank reverse), and text occupying pages 7-13. At the foot of page 13 is the imprint, “Phillips, Printers, Worthing,” and the reverse of the page is blank. A blank leaf completes the sheet.” [7]

Publication history
Very few copies of the original 16-page 1811 pamphlet survive, most were destroyed after publication. Only six are known to exist in libraries today (Nicolas Walter knew of five in 1998;[8] a sixth was discovered at Edinburgh University in 2015[9]):

Bodleian Library, Oxford University[10] (bound with three other pamphlets by Shelley). This (imperfect, lacking the half-title page) copy had been Shelley’s gift to bookseller Thomas Hookham, but eventually found its way via Leigh Hunt to Shelley’s son Sir Percy Shelley, whose wife Lady Jane Shelley gave it to the Bodleian.[11]
British Library, London (part of the retricted-access Ashley Library [4], microfilm available. This copy was retained by the Oxford booksellers Munday & Slatter (later Slatter & Rose). John Rose kept it until his death in 1897, when it was purchased by Thomas J Wise, whose Ashley Library ended up in the British Library[8])
St. John’s College, University of Cambridge[12]
Edinburgh University Library
Robert H. Taylor Collection, Princeton University Library, New Jersey, United States (a copy apparently retained by the family of John Rose, the original printer of the pamphlet)
Miriam Lutcher Stark Library, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas (bought for $9,300 in 1939, a decision investigated by the Texas House of Representatives in 1943[13]).

The first reprint of the 1811 pamphlet appeared in a collection of Shelley’s work and used the copy now in the Bodleian Library:

1880. The Necessity of Atheism, in The Prose Works. Volume I. Edited by Harry Buxton Forman. London: Reeves and Turner. pp. 299–309. The first reprint. Annotated. The editor states that he obtained his copy from Sir Percy and Lady Shelley. Online.

The second reprint used the copy now in the British Library:
1906. The Necessity of Atheism. Edited by Thomas J Wise and Percy Vaughan. “Issued for the Rationalist Press Association Limited by arrangement with the Shelley Society.” London: Watts & Co. pp. 13. A typographical imitation, with an introduction by Wise and Vaughan. The first separately published reprint.[8]

Subsequent reprints include:
1950. The Necessity of Atheism, in Shelley, Trelawny, and Henley: a study of three Titans. Edited by Samuel J. Looker. “A facsimile of the original edition printed at Worthing.” 13pp.
1952. The Necessity of Atheism, and Declaration of Rights. Charlottesville, Virginia: The Patrick Henry Literary Society. 8pp. Limited edition of 500 copies.
1965. The Necessity of Atheism, by an Atheist, in Shelley & Zastrozzi: self-revelation of a neurotic, by Dr. Eustace Chesser. London: Gregg/Archive.
1968. The Necessity of Atheism, together with excepts of revolutionary verse. Edited by David Tribe. National Secular Society/Oxford University Humanist Group. 9pp.
1972. The Necessity of Atheism, in Selected Essays on Atheism. New York: Arno Press/New York Times.
1976. The Necessity of Atheism. Introductory note by Mahadevaprasad Saha. First Indian Edition. Calcutta.
1992. The Necessity of Atheism. Oxford: Bodleian Library. 13pp. Reprinted from the Bodleian Library’s copy, presented in a wallet.
1993. The Necessity of Atheism, in The Necessity of Atheism And Other Essays. Freethought Library. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books.
1998. The Necessity of Atheism. Edited and annotated by Nicolas Walter. Freethinker’s Classics #2. London: G.W. Foote & Co. Ltd. Includes a reprint of the introduction to the 1906 Watts & Co. edition. Based on the British Library copy.




Born on this day:

1923 – Bonnie Guitar, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
Bonnie Guitar (born Bonnie Buckingham; March 25, 1923, Seattle, Washington) is an American singer, musician, producer and businesswoman. She is best remembered for her 1957 country-pop crossover hit “Dark Moon”. She became one of the first female country music singers to have hit songs cross over from the country charts to the pop charts. She appeared as herself on an episode of To Tell The Truth with Johnny Carson, Ralph Bellamy, Dina Merrill, and Betty White, and tricked three of the panelists (Carson, Bellamy and Merrill).

She raised cattle and quarter horses in Sumner, Washington with her second husband, Mario DiPiano, whom she married in 1969. He died in 1983. She co-founded the record company Dolton Records in the late 1950s, that launched the careers of The Fleetwoods and The Ventures. In 1960 she left Dolton and became part owner of Jerden Records. She was married to musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc.[citation needed]

Early life & rise to fame
Born in 1923 in Seattle, Washington to John and Doris Buckingham, Bonnie was initially raised in Redondo Beach along Puget Sound. Later, the family (including her five siblings) moved inland to a farm just outside the rural town of Auburn. She began performing at age 16, having taken up playing the guitar as a teenager, which led to her stage name, Bonnie Guitar. She later started songwriting. In 1944 she married her former guitar teacher Paul Tutmarc;[1] the couple had one daughter, Paula (born 1950), but split up in 1955, and Bonnie moved to Los Angeles. Through much of the 1950s, she worked as a session guitarist at quite a few small labels, like Abbot, Fabor, and also Radio Recorders.[citation needed]

Working at these places got Guitar noticed as a professional guitarist as she ended up playing on sessions for many well-known singers, like Jim Reeves, Dorsey Burnette, Ned Miller, and the DeCastro Sisters. After working with so many singers, she acquired her own singing aspirations herself and a desire to make her very own recording career in the process.[citation needed]

Following the release of her first single, “If You See My Love Dancing” on Fabor Records, Bonnie heard a demo of “Dark Moon” from Fabor’s owner, Fabor Robinson, a tune written by Ned Miller, with whom she worked as a session guitarist. Robinson was dissatisfied with how Dorsey Burnette sang a version of it and offered it to Guitar. “I said, ‘I’ll give up my royalties and everything just to do this song,'” she told Robinson in recounting their collaboration on “Dark Moon” to Wayne Jancik in The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders. “I knew it was up for grabs and somebody was gonna get it. I got it, but he took me at my word, and I really did give up my royalties. It was one of the hardest things I ever put together. Ned [Miller] wrote it, but we tried in maybe five or six different ways in different studios before it came out right.” The final version consisted of just two guitars and a bass backing Bonnie.[2]

The song was originally issued under Fabor Records in 1956. “Dark Moon” was then issued over to Dot Records and by the spring of 1957, “Dark Moon” hit the pop top 10 list and went into the country top 15 list. Guitar officially had a hit.[citation needed]

Early music success in 1957
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When Bonnie’s rendition of “Dark Moon” hit the country and pop charts in the Spring of 1957, she received recognition in the music business. Not only was she one of the few female Country singers in Country Music at the time, but she was also one of the few Country singers that had a hit on the Country and Pop charts at the same time.

Only one other female country singer was achieving this type of crossover success Guitar was having at the time, which was Patsy Cline, when her single “Walkin’ After Midnight” was a No. 2 Country hit and a No. 12 Pop hit at the same time. “Dark Moon” brought Guitar a wide audience, and she was soon appearing on quite a few Pop Music programs.[citation needed] Similar to Patsy Cline, Bonnie couldn’t follow-up her crossover success either. Her follow-up to “Dark Moon” called “Mister Fire Eyes” failed to make a substantial impact on the Pop charts, making it only to No. 71 there. On the Country charts though, it was again a Top 15 hit. Because she couldn’t follow-up her crossover success, her contract soon ended with Dot Records, and Guitar returned to Washington.[citation needed]

Running a record label & re-entering country music in the 1960s
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Guitar however decided she would form her very own record label called Dolphin Records which she co-founded with refrigerator salesman Bob Reisdorff. When the pair decided to rename the label Dolton Records, many of Guitar’s singles like “Candy Apple Red” and “Born to Be With You” were released. In 1959, her own recording career was superseded by that of a high school trio called The Fleetwoods. The trio was signed to the Dolton label and soon had major Pop Music hits in the Spring and Summer of 1959, with two No. 1 hits, “Come Softly to Me” and “Mr. Blue”. Guitar was soon credited as one of the people who helped launch The Fleetwoods into major music stardom.[citation needed]

Soon another group called The Ventures were signed to Bonnie’s Dolton label. They too had a monster hit called “Walk Don’t Run”. However, Bonnie thought it was time she would get her own music career back on foot. She soon left Dolton, and went back to Dot Records where she recorded a series of country albums throughout the 1960s.[citation needed]

In the summer and fall of 1963, she took a temporary leave to record a concept album under contract with Charter Records. The album told a romantic story beginning with songs featuring themes about first sight, through courting, going steady, threats from others, getting engaged, getting it broken off, having the man marry someone else and finally having the woman live happily ever after on her own at the end.[citation needed]

Unfortunately, the original heyday of concept albums by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole had long since been over by 1964, and the new times for concept albums by the likes of the Beatles and Pink Floyd were a few years off yet, so the album was shelved. Even though the album was never released commercially, in its original format, a single was released entitled Outside Looking In, however it failed to show on either the country or pop charts.[citation needed]

White-label Charter test pressings of the original concept album exist though, and most of the songs thereon found their way onto subsequent albums, with the remaining material such as the country remake version of Dark Moon and Ned Miller’s Lucky Star being featured in a 1972 Paramount Records double-album compilation of her work.[citation needed]

It was in 1966 that she began a brief stint as one of the most successful female soloists in the country music field. “I’m Living in Two Worlds” became Guitar’s first Top 10 Country hit (it record also hit the pop Hot 100). She scored an even bigger country success in 1967 with the No. 4 hit “A Woman in Love”. That same year, she won the Academy of Country Music’s “Top Female Vocalist” award. In 1968, “I Believe in Love” was another Top 10 hit. Guitar teamed up with Buddy Killen, and together they had a minor hit duet with “A True Lover You’ll Never Find (Than Mine)” which was issued in 1969 at a time when Guitar’s chart success was starting to fade.[citation needed]

Later career and life today
In the 1970s, Guitar recorded for Columbia Records and MCA Records with occasional minor hit records. She charted for the first time in many years in 1980 with the single “Honey On the Moon”. In 1986, she recorded for the Tumbleweed label. She later continued performing and playing until she announced she was retiring in 1996. She currently lives in Soap Lake, Washington, in 2014, she started producing and writing music and she still performs on weekends at the age of 92 with her band.[citation needed]




Source: Today’s selection by Paul Freedman: – From Ten Restaurants that Changed America Hamburgers and hot dogs Website/blog share options to just about every site imaginable.