Biographies & Memoirs

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

The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror 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.

Prologue

Chapter 1: Joseph Banks in Paradise

Chapter 2: Herschel on the Moon

Chapter 3: Balloonists in Heaven

Chapter 4: Herschel Among the Stars

Chapter 5: Mungo Park in Africa

Chapter 6: Davy on the Gas

Chapter 7: Dr Frankenstein and the Soul

Chapter 8: Davy and the Lamp

Chapter 9: Sorcerer and Apprentice

Chapter 10: Young Scientists

Epilogue

Cast List

Bibliography

References