Sam Loyd

I've pondered putting Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of Puzzles (1914) on my site. Down at the bottom is a start. Here are some comments people have made.

Chris Lusby Taylor: I was amused at the picture of the Uffington white horse on page 17 of Sam Loyd's book, reproduced on your Sam Loyd site. It is clear he never saw the horse, as it faces the other way and looks entirely different. On the other hand, there are, in the same area, some much more recent white horses, one of which just might look like Loyd's picture.

Geoff Hagopian: That would be a great service. You could annotate the racist parts.

Sonny Strom: Of course you should post it ..... it must have puzzle value, for you to consider it. I believe that your readers are intelligent enough to not be offended.

Gerami F. Havewala: Any perceived racism pertaining to Sam Loyd should be ignored. Let there be a single 'disclaimer' at the top of the site stating current 'wisdom' on the subject. (If the criteria were to be extended to all authors, then most of Shakespeare's works would be deemed not only racist but also sexist.)

Jeremy Dunn: Post the whole book, I'm sick and tired of people hiding and filtering the past because someone's sensibilities might be jarred. Are people getting so character weak that I must constantly have the past filtered to me to save me from myself? Give me the old WWII Popeye and Bugs Bunny cartoons too, while you're at it.

Gerard Quinn: It would be great to see Loyd's famous work. If we excluded anything from the past which contained words no longer acceptable we would lose an enormous amount of literature, and gain nothing in return.

Dane Brooke: It *is* the product of its time; I think most that visit your site are well enough educated so as to see the racism in historical context without getting tied into a knot.

Robert Abbott: Oh poop! Yes it was a different time -- it was better! Today we live in a prudish and silly time where everyone is terrified of saying anything. And everyone is careful to call any group by whatever name they currently want you to call them. "Get Off The Earth" was maybe too much but it should be okay. By the way, most Mickey Mouse cartoons are considered racist today. That's why you never see them.

Andrea Coffey: You asked for comments on Sam Loyd's "Cyclopedia of Puzzles" (1914). From the point of view of someone from Oz, I think we can at times be too precious about "political correctness". The thirteen sample pages you put up are obviously reproductions of the original work. In those times, as you correctly point out, society accepted different values. To try and pretend otherwise is tantamount to censorship of the worst kind. It's like rewriting Chaucer in modern English, and "cleaning up" some of the bawdy scenes. A far better course is to prepend a paragraph or two explaining that that was then, this is now, and the material has merit--after all the "racism" is not the point of Sam Loyd's work. That is to make mathematical puzzles interesting to the people of the time. Go ahead and include the book. Anyone so petty as to complain needs to get a life.


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The start of Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of Puzzles