Romantic Science: The Literary Forms of Natural History

Romantic Science, ed. Noah Heringman
Noah Heringman
State University of New York Press

Although "romantic science" may sound like a paradox, much of the romance surrounding modern science -- the mad scientist, the intuitive genius, the utopian transformation of nature -- originated in the Romantic period. Romantic Science traces the literary and cultural politics surrounding the formation of the modern scientific disciplines emerging from eighteenth-century natural history. Revealing how scientific concerns were literary concerns in the Romantic period, the contributors uncover the vital role that new discoveries in earth, plant, and animal sciences played in the period's literary culture. Furthermore, as they examine the social and literary ramifications of a particular branch or object of natural history, they historicize our present intellectual landscape by reimagining and redrawing the disciplinary boundaries between literature and science.