The Age of Wonder - Richard Holmes

Title: The Age of Wonder

Author: Richard Holmes

Date: 2009-10-15

The Age of Wonder - Richard Holmes

Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes’s dazzling portrait of the most exciting period in British history is a groundbreaking achievement.

The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook’s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own voyages of discovery – astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical – which together made up this ‘age of wonder’. In this compelling group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the Romantic period’s celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight to the miner’s lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration.

Breathtaking in its originality and storytelling energy, this is a radical vision of the meeting places of science and art, and an extraordinary evocation of an era of exploration and wonder.