In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell—clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world—making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more. The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.
Uncovers the vital role that new scientific discoveries played in Romantic literary culture. 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. As Thomas Pennant put it in 1772, "Natural History is, at present, the favourite science over all Europe, and the progress which has been made in it will distinguish and characterise the eighteenth century in the annals of literature." As they examine the social and literary ramifications of a particular branch or object of natural history, the contributors to this volume historicize our present intellectual landscape by reimagining and redrawing the disciplinary boundaries between literature and science. "This book displays interpretive brilliance. A stunning array of methods are applied to an extraordinarily wide range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century texts, involving new readings of canonical works. It dramatically clarifies the relationships between major figures of the period, and brings to light texts, contexts, and controversies that have not been confronted in such detail in previous scholarly studies." — Donald Ault, author of Narrative Unbound: Re-Visioning William Blake's The Four Zoas
David I. Spanagel explores the origins of American geology and the culture that helped give it rise, focusing on Amos Eaton, the educator and amateur scientist who founded the Rensselaer School, and on DeWitt Clinton, the masterful politician who led the movement for the Erie Canal. DeWitt Clinton and Amos Eaton shows how a cluster of assumptions about the peculiar landscape and entrepreneurial spirit of New York came to define the Empire State. Spanagel sheds light on a particularly innovative and fruitful period of interplay among science, politics, art, and literature in American history. New Yorkers' romantic views of natural majesty and ideas about improving the land influenced scientific ideas and other features of contemporary culture. The life of Amos Eaton provides a lens through which readers gain fresh awareness of scientific knowledge, economic planning, and cultural values during the first half of the nineteenth century. Scientists of the time were fascinated by questions such as: How old is the earth? When did time begin? How might the passage of time have shaped and reshaped the original landscape? In the United States, New Yorkers of the mid-1820s mounted the most concerted effort to find answers to these large questions of natural history. Both geographic conditions and historical forces led Amos Eaton and his wealthy patron Stephen Van Rensselaer to open the Rensselaer School at Troy, New York, in 1826. Eaton thus gave America its first generation of professional scientists, many of whom formed professional organizations and standards of practice still active today. Deeply researched, this book will interest historians of nineteenth-century American arts and science, politics, and technological development.
The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth deploys its forty-eight original essays, by an international team of scholar-critics, to present a stimulating account of Wordsworth's life and achievement and to map new directions in criticism. Nineteen essays explore the highlights of a long career systematically, giving special prominence to the lyric Wordsworth of Lyrical Ballads and the Poems in Two Volumes and to the blank verse poet of 'The Recluse'. Most of the other essays return to the poetry while exploring other dimensions of the life and work of the major Romantic poet. The result is a dialogic exploration of many major texts and problems in Wordsworth scholarship. This uniquely comprehensive handbook is structured so as to present, in turn, Wordsworth's life, career, and networks; aspects of the major lyrical and narrative poetry; components of 'The Recluse'; his poetical inheritance and his transformation of poetics; the variety of intellectual influences upon his work, from classical republican thought to modern science; his shaping of modern culture in such fields as gender, landscape, psychology, ethics, politics, religion and ecology; and his 19th- and 20th-century reception-most importantly by poets, but also in modern criticism and scholarship.
"Maps have power--they can instruct, make life easier, mislead, or even lie. This engaging text provides the tools to read, analyze, and use any kind of map and assess its strengths and weaknesses. Requiring no advanced math skills, the book presents basic concepts of symbolization, scale, coordinate systems, and projections. It gives students a deeper understanding of the types of maps they encounter every day, from turn-by-turn driving directions to the TV weather report. Readers also learn how to use multiple maps and imagery to analyze an area or region. The book includes 168 figures, among them 22 color plates; most of the figures can be downloaded as PowerPoint slides from the companion website. Appendices contain a glossary, recommended resources, a table of commonly used projections, and more"--
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, in which he writes of his theories of evolution by natural selection, is one of the most important works of scientific study ever published. This unabridged edition also includes a rich selection of primary source material: substantial selections from Darwin's other works (Autobiography, notebooks, letters, Voyage of the Beagle, and The Descent of Man) and selections from Darwin's sources and contemporaries (excerpts from Genesis, Paley, Lamarck, Spencer, Lyell, Malthus, Huxley, and Wallace).
Presents and authoritative and biblical geological time-line for high school students and adults. Includes substantial illustrations, a glossary, and an extensive reference section. Clearly explains how data from volcanic deposits, seismic activity in Earth history, and even the presence of ripple marks in rock layers support the Bible as history. From the acclaimed Creation Research Society, this technical study of rock strata, and the fossils found therein, gives a solidly scientific rationale for believing in a young earth. This advanced guide is ideal for upper-level homeschool students, college students, or anyone wishing to explore this fascinating subject in-depth and includes questions for review at the end of each chapter. Froede presents a credible geological time-line and explains the formation and existence of fossil layers in rock sediments around the world.
In A Sense of Place, journalist/travel writer Michael Shapiro goes on a pilgrimage to visit the world's great travel writers on their home turf to get their views on their careers, the writer's craft, and most importantly, why they chose to live where they do and what that place means to them. The book chronicles a young writer’s conversations with his heroes, writers he's read for years who inspired him both to pack his bags to travel and to pick up a pen and write. Michael skillfully coaxes a collective portrait through his interviews, allowing the authors to speak intimately about the writer's life, and how place influences their work and perceptions. In each chapter Michael sets the scene by describing the writer's surroundings, placing the reader squarely in the locale, whether it be Simon Winchester's Massachusetts, Redmond O'Hanlon's London, or Frances Mayes's Tuscany. He then lets the writer speak about life and the world, and through quiet probing draws out fascinating commentary from these remarkable people. For Michael it’s a dream come true, to meet his mentors; for readers, it's an engaging window onto the twin landscapes of great travel writers and the world in which they live.
Winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Book, this newly designed collection paints a unique portrait of a complex and captivating land. One contributor lives as a monk for a month, gaining an inside look at monastic life. Another discovers Bangkok’s riverine pleasures, a world away from its car-choked streets. Yet another finds refuge as the houseguest of an isolated tribesman. Through these engaging personal stories, readers witness how Thailand satisfies just about any traveler’s hunger for the exotic, the beautiful, the thrillingly different. Writers include Pico Iyer, Norman Lewis, Diane Summers, Simon Winchester, Ian Buruma, Thalia Zepatos, and Tim Ward. “The breadth and color of the collective portrait [the contributors] provide of Thailand is remarkable.” — Los Angeles Times
Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence from molecules that enable scientists to decipher the tree of life as never before. The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. Prothero weaves an entertaining though intellectually rigorous history out of the transitional forms and series that dot the fossil record. Beginning with a brief discussion of the nature of science and the "monkey business of creationism," Prothero tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution. He covers the ingredients of the primordial soup, the effects of communal living, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, the mammalian explosion, and the leap from chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process. Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.