Six Degrees Of Francis Bacon

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The Economist spotlights “Kindred Britain,” a site that traces ancestral connections between famous Brits and allows users to “uncover interrelationships that even the historical personages themselves probably never knew”:

[U]nlike in other attempts to map relationships, Kindred Britain doesn’t flinch from the messiness of the real world. Bigamists, same-sex marriages and illegitimate children are included. Thus the site traces connections that were previously obscure. And by pouring resources into the presentation of the information over the web, “digital humanities” projects such as this makes academic research far more accessible and publicly-available than before.

And so David Hume, an eighteenth century Scottish philosopher, is distantly connected with Charles Darwin, the founding father of evolutionary theory. Novelists across the centuries are linked by marriages between their descendants: Jane Austen, who never married or had any children, is linked to both Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf. Poets, in contrast, are more likely to be related to one another.