The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
When Joseph Banks stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1796, he hoped to discover Paradise. The young botanist had set sail in search of new worlds – inspired by the Romantic revolution of science that was sweeping through Britain.
In this ground-breaking group biography, award-winning author Richard Holmes charts the voyages of discovery – astronomical, chemical, poetical, phi
Holmes' book purports to put forth a unifying thesis about how science influenced the Romantic generation. All the new discoveries in science are meant to have communicated to this generation endless new possibilities, which goes a long way to explaining the reputation this bunch has gone down with for credulity, e ...more
Description: 'The Age of Wonder' is Richard Holmes' first major work of biography for a decade. It has been inspired by the scientific ferment that swept through Britain at the end of the 18th century, and which Holmes now radically redefines as 'the revolution of Romantic Science'.
Never has a book left me feeling so completely inadequate, however it is highly probable that I am not alone in this sentiment. So whilst none of the information could be deemed as original, this book is put together ...more
AWE: "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like."
I would like to put in an official plea to wrest the word AWE back from the frantically freaked-out readers of teen romance who squawk "epic awesomeness", sorry, that should be "EPIC AWESOMENESS" and then a spasm with the shift-1 key, because words just cannot express the eloquence they feel at an author's ability to re-hash perennial adolescent angst at ...more
This book came along at a great time for me. I'm a humanist who's been seeking more practical applications for my passions for years, and I find inspiration here. Holmes weaves the li ...more
Holmes has written a truly exceptional book. It's been on my list for quite some time, but I never seemed to get around to reading it. Had I known how exquisite and often lesser known a science history it would turn out to be, I would ...more
This is my only caveat of the book. There was only a slight mention of Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter and innovator of modern computer language. This was in an appendix in the back giving a short blurb about Mary Somerville. And I mention this because there was plenty written ab ...more
Cannot recommend this book enough!
~ Humphry Davy
The progress of science is to destroy Wonder...
~ Thomas Carlyle
To what degree are the aims of science aligned with those of art? When and why did they begin to diverge? These are some of the more fascinating questions explored in this wonderful book, a ma ...more
Isaac Newton died in 1727 and Darwin didn’t make his voyage until 1831. Science was not dead between those years. Holmes uses those years to identify the years of what he calls the age of Romantic science - the Age of Wonder.
The big names were Joseph Banks, William Herschel and Humphrey Davy. Banks explored and wrote about Tahiti, Herschel, with h ...more
--The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
The chapters on Joseph Banks, Hersch ...more
So far I have written 55,000 lines of blank verse about 22 Greek philosophers. Books like this are ...more
This is a heady and dense read, but the slow pace it demands only allows the reader to savor every detail, every "Eureka!," every moment of intellectual clarity. I absolutely loved every second I spent with this book.
See this thread for more information.
Biographer Richard Holmes was born in London, England on 5 November 1945 and educated at Downside School and Churchill College, Cambridge. His first book, Shelley:The Pursuit, was published in 1974 and won a Somerset Maugham Award. The first volume of his biography of the po ...more