The poetry of Victorian scientists: style, science and nonsense

Brown, Daniel (2013) The poetry of Victorian scientists: style, science and nonsense, Cambridge, GB, Cambridge University Press, 315pp. (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, 83).


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A surprising number of Victorian scientists wrote poetry. Many came to science as children through such games as the spinning-top, soap-bubbles, and mathematical puzzles, and this playfulness carried through to both their professional work and writing of lyrical and satirical verse. This is the first study of an oddly neglected body of work that offers a unique record of the nature and cultures of Victorian science. Such figures as the physicist James Clerk Maxwell toy with ideas of nonsense, as through their poetry they strive to delineate the boundaries of the new professional science and discover the nature of scientific creativity. Also considering Edward Lear, Daniel Brown finds the Victorian renaissances in research science and nonsense literature to be curiously interrelated. Whereas science and literature studies have mostly focused upon canonical literary figures, this original and important book conversely explores the uses that literature was put to by eminent Victorian scientists.

Item Type: Book
ISBNs: 9781107023376 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
P Language and Literature > PE English
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Humanities > English
ePrint ID: 345088
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2013Published
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2012 16:18
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:37

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