The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

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9780007149537: The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

The Age of Wonder is a colorful and utterly absorbing history of the men and women whose discoveries and inventions at the end of the eighteenth century gave birth to the Romantic Age of Science. 

When young Joseph Banks stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, he hoped to discover Paradise. Inspired by the scientific ferment sweeping through Britain, the botanist had sailed with Captain Cook in search of new worlds. Other voyages of discovery—astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical—swiftly follow in Richard Holmes's thrilling evocation of the second scientific revolution. Through the lives of William Herschel and his sister Caroline, who forever changed the public conception of the solar system; of Humphry Davy, whose near-suicidal gas experiments revolutionized chemistry; and of the great Romantic writers, from Mary Shelley to Coleridge and Keats, who were inspired by the scientific breakthroughs of their day, Holmes brings to life the era in which we first realized both the awe-inspiring and the frightening possibilities of science—an era whose consequences are with us still.

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Amazon Exclusive: Oliver Sacks on The Age of Wonder

Oliver Sacks is the author of Musicophilia, Awakenings,The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and many other books, for which he has received numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and lives in New York City, where he is a practicing neurologist. Read his exclusive guest review of The Age of Wonder:

I am a Richard Holmes addict. He is an incomparable biographer, but in The Age of Wonder, he rises to new heights and becomes the biographer not of a single figure, but of an entire unique period, when artist and scientist could share common aims and ambitions and a common language--and together create a "romantic," humanist science. We are once again on the brink of such an age, when science and art will come together in new and powerful ways. For this we could have no better model than the lives of William and Caroline Herschel and Humphry Davy, whose dedication and scientific inventiveness were combined with a deep sense of wonder and poetry in the universe. Only Holmes, who is so deeply versed in the people and culture of eighteenth-century science, could tell their story with such verve and resonance for our own time.

(Photo Elena Seibert)

About the Author:

Richard Holmes is the author of Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer; Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer; Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage; Shelley: The Pursuit (for which he received the Somerset Maugham Award); Coleridge: Early Visions; and Coleridge: Darker Reflections (a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist). He lives in England.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Repr.. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement. The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own voyages of artistic and scientific discovery - astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical - that together made up the age of wonder . In this breathtaking group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the period s celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight to the miner s lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007149537

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Repr.. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement. The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own voyages of artistic and scientific discovery - astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical - that together made up the age of wonder . In this breathtaking group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the period s celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight to the miner s lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007149537

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Book Description HarperPress. Book Condition: New. 2009. Paperback. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes's dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement. Num Pages: 380 pages, Illustrations (chiefly col.), map, ports. (chiefly col.). BIC Classification: 3JF; PDX. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 128 x 37. Weight in Grams: 442. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007149537

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Book Description HarperPress, 2009. Book Condition: New. 2009. Paperback. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes's dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement. Num Pages: 380 pages, Illustrations (chiefly col.), map, ports. (chiefly col.). BIC Classification: 3JF; PDX. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 128 x 37. Weight in Grams: 442. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780007149537

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