Literature, Science and Exploration in the Romantic Era: Bodies of Knowledge

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-07-23
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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In 1768, Captain James Cook made the most important scientific voyage of the eighteenth century. He was not alone: scores of explorers like Cook, travelling in the name of science, brought new worlds and new peoples within the horizon of European knowledge for the first time. Their discoveries changed the course of science. Old scientific disciplines, such as astronomy and botany, were transformed; new ones, like craniology and comparative anatomy, were brought into being. Scientific disciplines, in turn, pushed literature of the period towards new subjects, forms and styles. Works as diverse as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Wordsworth's Excursion responded to the explorers' and scientists' latest discoveries. This wide-ranging and well-illustrated study shows how literary Romanticism arose partly in response to science's appropriation of explorers' encounters with foreign people and places and how it, in turn, changed the profile of science and exploration.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
A note on the text
Frequently cited texts
Introduction: bodies of knowledge
Exploration, Science and Literature
Sir Joseph Banks and his networks
Tahiti in London
London in Tahiti: tools of power
Indian flowers and Romantic Orientalism
Mental travellers: Banks, African exploration and the Romantic imagination
Banks, Bligh and the breadfruit: slave plantations, tropical islands and the rhetoric of Romanticism
Exploration, headhunting and race theory: the skull beneath the skin
Theories of terrestrial magnetism and the search for the poles
British Science and Literature in the Context of Empire
'Man electrified man': Romantic revolution and the legacy of Benjamin Franklin
The beast within: vaccination, Romanticism and the Jenneration of disease
Britain's little black boys and the technologies of benevolence
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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