Chasing the Sun, By Richard Cohen

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The Independent Culture

"Busy old fool, unruly Sun... Why must to thy motions lovers seasons run?" John Donne's solar raspberry is still startling, but Richard Cohen's engaging account of our local star reveals the sub-text.

Donne, imprisoned by Sir George More for secretly marrying his 17-year-old daughter, was getting back at his father-in-law's cranky view of the sunrise, "coming forth as a bridegroom".

From Stonehenge to global warming to the Sun King, Cohen describes humanity's slow enlightenment. Though sunspots were observed in 325BC, we remain perplexed about these solar "tantrums" that disrupt electrical transmissions.

Roy Cohn of the Un-American Activities Committee doubted this, insisting in that a more likely cause was "disloyal Americans selling out our country".