Erasmus Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity

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en Limba Engleză Hardback – 13 Sep 2012
Dr Erasmus Darwin seemed an innocuous Midlands physician, a respectable stalwart of eighteenth-century society. But there was another side to him.
Botanist, inventor, Lunar inventor and popular poet, Darwin was internationally renowned for breathtakingly long poems explaining his theories about sex and science. Yet he become a target for the political classes, the victim of a sustained and vitriolic character assassination by London's most savage satirists.
Intrigued, prize-winning historian Patricia Fara set out to investigate why Darwin had provoked such fierce intellectual and political reaction. Inviting her readers to accompany her, she embarked on what turned out to be a circuitous and serendipitous journey.
Her research led her to discover a man who possessed, according to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'perhaps a greater range of knowledge than any other man in Europe.' His evolutionary ideas influenced his grandson Charles, were banned by the Vatican, and scandalized his reactionary critics. But for modern readers, he shines out as an impassioned Enlightenment reformer who championed the abolition of slavery, the education of women, and the optimistic ideals of the French Revolution.
As she tracks down her quarry, Patricia Fara uncovers a ferment of dangerous ideas that terrified the establishment, inspired the Romantics, and laid the ground for Victorian battles between faith and science.
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ISBN-13: 9780199582662
ISBN-10: 0199582661
Pagini: 322
Ilustrații: 10 black and white halftones
Dimensiuni: 142 x 218 x 36 mm
Greutate: 0.5 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP Oxford
Locul publicării: Oxford, United Kingdom


Fara is no dry academic and her pleasing book is, in part, an entertaining account of her research journey in the Rare Books Department of Cambridge University Library and elsewhere. Some of her discoveries are engagingly serendipitous - an important, but sometimes understated feature of serious research.
An ingenious and engaging romp through the unexpected byways of scientific and social history.
Fara's account is a welcome addition to the existing works on Darwin and offers a new way of understanding him as an important figure of the Enlightenment.

Notă biografică

Patricia Fara lectures in the history of science at Cambridge University, where she is the Senior Tutor of Clare College. A specialist in Enlightenment England, her main passion is explaining to non-academic audiences why the history of science is so fascinating and so important. Her most recent book, Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009), won the Dingle prize awarded by the British Society for the History of Science. Her other successful publicationsinclude Newton: The Making of Genius (2002), Sex, Botany and Empire (2003) and Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004). An experienced public lecturer, she appears regularly in TV documentaries and radio programmes such as In our Time and Start the Week. She also contributesarticles and reviews to many journals, including History Today, BBC History, New Scientist, Prospect, Nature, and the Times Literary Supplement.