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The Age of Wonder

How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

Richard Holmes

The Age of Wonder is Holmes's first major biography in over a decade and explores the scientific ferment that swept across Britain at the end of the 18th century. Holmes proposes a radical vision of science before Darwin, exploring the earliest ideas of deep time and deep space, the creative rivalry with the French scientific establishment, and the startling impact of discovery on great writers and poets such as Mary Shelley, Coleridge, Byron and Keats. Holmes shows how great ideas and experiments are born out of lonely passion, how scientific discoveries (and errors) are made, how intense relationships are forged and broken by research, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide. The result is breathtaking in its originality, its story-telling energy, and not least, in its intellectual significance.

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Hardcover 554 pages

About the author

Richard Holmes OBE is a British author and academic best known for his biographical studies of major figures of British and French Romanticism. Educated at Churchill College, Cambridge, he is currently a member of The Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the British Academy. He was professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia from 2001–2007 and has honorary doctorates from the University of East London, University of Kingston and the Tavistock Institute. In 1992 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. He lives in London and Norfolk with his wife, British novelist Rose Tremain.