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By Noah Heringman

Even supposing "romantic technology" may well sound like a paradox, a lot of the romance surrounding smooth science—the mad scientist, the intuitive genius, the utopian transformation of nature—originated within the Romantic interval. Romantic technological know-how strains the literary and cultural politics surrounding the formation of the fashionable clinical disciplines rising from eighteenth-century typical heritage. Revealing how medical matters have been literary issues within the Romantic interval, the individuals discover the important function that new discoveries in earth, plant, and animal sciences performed within the period’s literary tradition. As Thomas Pennant placed it in 1772, "Natural historical past is, at this time, the favorite technology over all Europe, and the growth which has been made in it's going to distinguish and characterise the eighteenth century within the annals of literature." As they research the social and literary ramifications of a selected department or item of usual historical past, the members to this quantity historicize our current highbrow panorama via reimagining and redrawing the disciplinary barriers among literature and technological know-how.

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Using this persona, both poets and natural philosophers of this period were forced to compete for public attention using many of the same vehicles and sites of public discourse, including the same periodical press and public lecture circuits. Most of the important periodicals of the early nineteenth century were surprisingly eclectic in their offerings of articles and reviews. To illustrate: at least one-fourth of the articles in literary journals such as The Edinburgh Review, The Monthly Review, and The Quarterly Review covered scientific subjects in depth.

He told John Rickman that of all the “men of talent” in Bristol, “Davy [was] by far the first 28 ❘ Catherine E. ”13 Davy’s strides were, indeed, ambitiously long; he aimed at nothing less than discovering “the laws of our existence . . 14 When we consider how similar these utterances are to well-known passages in Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads or Percy Shelley’s “A Defence of Poetry,” it is easier to appreciate why Romantic-era poets and scientists felt themselves to be in competition.

The textuality of science in this period is borne out in a curious way by the fact that important contributions in history of science have been made by trained Romanticists such as Dennis Dean and Morse Peckham. Dean’s two substantial contributions to history of geology are James Hutton and the History of Geology (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1992) and Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999). Peckham, who returned to Romanticism as his main scholarly focus, edited The Origin of Species: A Variorum Text (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1959), a Herculean labor (considering Darwin’s extensive revisions in many successive editions) still of service to students of Darwin.

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