Review: Nancy’s Philosopher

Last night, I attended the one-woman play Nancy’s Philosopher starring the lovely and expressive Kelly Burke, written by David Black.

Through one side of an exchange between Nancy Ord, daughter of Robert Ord, Chief Baron of the Scottish Exchequer, and an unseen and unheard Angus, physician’s assistant, we learn about the social circle in Edinburgh’s well-heeled, sophisticated New Town scene, in which the Ords, James Boswell, Benjamin Franklin, Robert AdamJean Jacques Rousseau, and the great Enlightenment philosopher David Hume make their appearances. And through a series of anecdotes, we learn of Nancy’s growing love for the much older, much rounder, and controversial skeptic Hume.

This play is a history and a love letter all in one, and reveals as much about the admiration of the playwright for Nancy’s beloved as it does hers. I won’t offer any spoilers here since the play is so full of delightful revelations and unexpected, little-known connections between great figures in history. I very much recommend you go and see this little gem of a play!

Venue: Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Summerhall, at 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL

Price: £15 (concessions £12) / Sat: £20 (concessions £15)

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Happy Birthday, Benjamin Franklin!

Benjamin Franklin, earliest known portrait by Robert Feke, 1738-1746, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

My philosophy and history of ideas travels and research have now led me to many, many sites associated with the life, ideas, friends, and colleagues of Benjamin Franklin in two continents and the United Kingdom, and I have more on my list to visit still. Just the other day, I visited Benjamin Franklin’s house in London (see below). And I’ve discovered more links between this man and other great thinkers and ideas that will be the topics of future stories, stay tuned!

This long-lived, very sociable polymath was born January 17th, 1706 and died April 17, 1790. He was a printer, writer, publisher, inventor, scientist, diplomat, and American founding father, mentor to many, friend to countless more, and mediator extraordinaire between rivals, colleagues, friends, and nations. Always on a quest to further expand and expound human knowledge, Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society, which persists to this day.

Learn more about this extraordinary man:

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin ~ by Benjamin Franklin, 1791

Benjamin Franklin: American Author, Scientist, and Statesman ~ by Theodore Hornberger and Gordon S. Wood for Encyclopædia Britannica

Benjamin Franklin: An Extraordinary Life, an Electric Mind ~ PBS

Benjamin Franklin FAQ ~ The Franklin Institute Website

Benjamin Franklin Joins the Revolution ~ by Walter Isaacson for Smithsonian.com, July 2003

What Led Benjamin Franklin to Live Estranged From His Wife for Nearly Two Decades? ~ by Stephen Coss for Smithsonian.com, September 2017

Ordinary Philosophy and its Traveling Philosophy / History of Ideas series is a labor of love and ad-free, supported by patrons and readers like you. Please offer your support today!

Benjamin Franklin House in London, evening visit, left, interpretive tour, right, exterior

Photobook: Benjamin Franklin’s Grave in Old Town Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin‘s grave in Christ Church Burial Ground at Arch and 5th Streets, Old Town Philadelphia, PA. I took this photo while on the first of my Thomas Jefferson history of ideas tours, 2015. Franklin died on this day, April 17th, in 1790 here in Philadelphia. Scroll down for more…

Ordinary Philosophy and its Traveling Philosophy / History of Ideas series is a labor of love and ad-free, supported by patrons and readers like you. Please offer your support today!