Ecclesiastes. But Shakespeare would have said – did say:
If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil’d,
Which labouring for invention, bear amiss
The second burden of a former child?
In my recent journal reading I came across a tidbit, a morsel, that I decided not to use in my talk. It was a description of Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s production in 1900 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which featured, among other things, fairies wearing battery-operated lighting. In America too: in 1888 Augustin Daly put battery-powered lights in the fairies’ hair and on their wands. There were electric fireflies as well.
No one seems to have introduced vacuum cleaners though.