Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the by James A. Secord PDF

By James A. Secord

ISBN-10: 0199675279

ISBN-13: 9780199675272

While political and social occasions shook continental Europe, clinical advancements have been altering the best way we understood the realm. on the top of this transformation a sequence of exceptional books approximately technology have been released. In Visions of Science, Jim Secord explores a variety of those titles and the way they have been acquired, disseminated, and trendy.

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Extra resources for Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age

Sample text

19 Following Constable’s example, John Murray published a ‘Family Library’ in  volumes and Longman issued a -volume Cyclopaedia. Such books were cheap by the standards of the larger formats that had previously dominated the trade, but the price still put them out of the reach of all but the wealthiest  per cent of the population. They were, however, staples of subscription libraries such as the one addressed by Herschel. 20  vis io ns o f s ci en ce These transformations in publishing were accompanied by a remarkable fluidity in the boundaries between different types of writing.

Davy, the most celebrated man of science of his day, saw his book as a final testament, an intervention in the debates that were tearing Britain apart as he lay on his deathbed. He supported parliamentary reform, but unlike Herschel and Knight condemned the diffusion of knowledge among the people as fundamentally mistaken. Consolations addresses an imagined clerisy of elite readers who could take society in a new direction. It is a series of dialogues on the progress of human life, the deep past of the earth, the relation between spirit and matter, the role of the man of knowledge, and the nature of a future state.

In Volney’s vision, kingcraft and priestcraft will pass away, to be replaced by a faith unified around a God known not through Scripture or dogma, but the laws of nature. The Ruins appeared at the height of the revolution in France, which it sees as the culminating event of global history. Particularly with its appended The Law of Nature, the French revolutionary catechism, Ruins became a classic of freethinking religion, among the most widely circulated and reviled books of the early nineteenth century.

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Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age by James A. Secord


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