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The Age of Wonder
Cover of The Age of Wonder
The Age of Wonder
How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
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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' 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.

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' 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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Awards-
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.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine This book pays tribute to the British scientists of the late eighteenth century whose discoveries led to profound new directions in scientific thought. Gildart Jackson artfully manages Holmes's excellent treatise, infectiously conferring each new revelation with the awe it is due. Holmes's thorough approach is structured as a compilation of several scientists' lives. Never dull, his research and prose style perfectly balance the narrative of struggling private lives, letters, memoirs, and descriptions of experiments that are linked to art, culture, and scientific theory. Jackson occasionally delivers subtle accents and sounds fully engaged throughout his narration. This was an era when discoveries were made around the globe and in outer space as scientists carried out the quest for knowledge. A.W. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
  • Time, The Top 10 Everything of 2009 "Richard Holmes—who is almost unfairly gifted both as a writer of living, luminous prose and as a tireless researcher—braids Herschel's story together with a dozen others to create the most joyful, exciting book of the year."
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    Blackstone Publishing
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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