Wordsworth and the Geologists (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism)

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9780521472593: Wordsworth and the Geologists (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism)
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Examination of the links between literary history and science provides valuable new insights for scholars across a range of disciplines. John Wyatt explores the unexpectedly close relationship between William Wordsworth and a group of scientists in the formative years of the new science of geology. Wyatt's study of this personal and intellectual friendship challenges the simplistic opposition between Romantic-literary and scientific-materialist cultures, and shows how discourses were affected by the network of influences between poetry and geology.

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Examination of the links between science and literary history is providing new insight for scholars across a range of disciplines. In Wordsworth and the Geologists John Wyatt explores the hitherto unexamined relationship between a major Romantic poet and a group of scientists in the formative years of a new discipline, geology. Wordsworth's later poems and prose display unexpected knowledge of contemporary geology and a preoccupation with many of the philosophical issues concerned with the developing science of geology. Letters and diaries of a group of leading geologists reveal that they knew Wordsworth, and discussed their subject with him. Wyatt shows how the implications of such discussions challenge the simplistic version of 'two cultures', the Romantic-literary against the scientific materialistic; and he reminds us of the variety of interrelating discourses current between 1807 (the year of the foundation of the Geological Society of London) and 1850 (the year of Wordsworth's death).

Review:

"This is a straightforward historical study....Wyatt's research is unimpeded by abstract theoretical claims....is a significant contribution to our knowledge of the complex links between poetic and scientific thought in the first half of the nineteenth century in England." Albion

"Wyatt has mastered and presented a broad array of scholarship about Romantic literature, Wordsworth, theology, geology, and natural science in a critical, thoughtful, and scholarly, but readable manner." Thomas McGeary, Journal of Geoscience Education

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