Through the Looking Glasses: An enlightening history of how we came to see the world more clearly

It has taken centuries for glasses (from their primitive origins to today’s fashion statements) to be appreciated for the improvement they bring to our lives, as Travis Elborough relates in this entertaining study

Marilyn Monroe charms David Wayne in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), despite the widely held belief that men don’t fall for women who wear glasses. Picture: Getty


Through the Looking Glasses: The Spectacular History of Spectacles

By Travis Elborough

Little, Brown, €22.95

Dennis Taylor is living proof that finding the right pair of glasses can transform your life. In the early 1980s, fading eyesight meant that the Co Tyrone snooker player seemed destined to be remembered as a “nearly man”.

Then a television commentator made him spectacles which had giant frames, extra-deep lenses and a comical upside-down appearance. “You look like ...