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An important figure in the development of modern mathematical logic and abstract algebra, Augustus De Morgan (1806–71) was also a witty writer who made a hobby of collecting evidence of paradoxical and illogical thinking from historical sources as well as contemporary pamphlets and periodicals. Based on articles that had appeared in The Athenaeum during his lifetime, this work was edited by his widow and published in book form in 1872. It parades all varieties of crackpot, from circle-squarers to inventors of perpetual motion machines, all for the reader's entertainment and education. Filled with anecdotes, personal opinions and 'squibs' of every kind, the book remains enjoyable reading for those who are amused rather than appalled by the human condition. Also reissued in the Cambridge Library Collection are the Memoir of Augustus De Morgan (1882), prepared by his wife, and his ambitious Formal Logic (1847).
Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan (1809–1892) was the wife of the mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan and mother of ceramicist William De Morgan. In Threescore Years and Ten, completed in 1887, edited by her daughter Mary, and published in 1895, De Morgan recounts her formative early years and the influence of her father, the social reformer William Frend. She followed in his footsteps and fought for many causes, including higher education for women and prison reform. She was also an early animal rights activist and campaigned against vivisection. Throughout her life, De Morgan encountered some of the leading writers and thinkers of the time – she was introduced to William Blake when she was a child and many years later found herself the neighbour of Thomas Carlyle. De Morgan's reflections on her life offer an insight into the intellectual world of a Victorian social reformer.