The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science Cover Image

About the Author: Richard Holmes

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Biographer Richard Holmes was born in London, England on 5 November 1945 and educated at Downside School and Churchill College, Cambridge. His first book, Shelley:The Pursuit, was published in 1974 and won a Somerset Maugham Award. The first volume of his biography of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge: Early Visions, was published in 1989 and won the Whitbread Book of the Year award. Dr Johnson & Mr Savage (1993), an account of Johnson's undocumented friendship with the notorious poet Richard Savage, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for biography) in 1993. The second volume of his study of Coleridge, Coleridge: Darker Reflections, was published in 1998. It won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Heinemann Award and was shortlisted for the first Samuel Johnson Prize awarded in 1999.

Richard Holmes writes and reviews regularly for various journals and newspapers, including the New York Review of Books. His most recent book, Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer (2000), continues the exploration of his own highly original biographical method that he first wrote about in Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (1985). He is also editor of a new series of editions of classic English biographies that includes work by Samuel Johnson, Daniel Defoe and William Godwin.

His latest book, The Age of Wonder (2008), is an examination of the life and work of the scientists of the Romantic age who laid the foundations of modern science. It was shortlisted for the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded an OBE in 1992. He was awarded an honorary Litt.D. in 2000 by the University of East Anglia, where he was appointed Professor of Biographical Studies in September 2001.


The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science Cover Image

Find the best price forThe Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

Goodreads rating: 3.96

Paperback, Published in Sep 2009 by HarperPress

ISBN10: 0007149530 | ISBN13: 9780007149537

Page count: 554

Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes’s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery 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 artistic and scientific discovery – astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical – that together made up the ‘age of wonder’.


In this breathtaking group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the 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.

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Compare book prices with SocialBookco. Get The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes at the best price. This book is for ISBN 9780007149537 which is a Paperback copy Published in Sep 2009 by HarperPress.