Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the Practices of Victorian Science

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Overview

"Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) was an internationally renowned botanist, a close friend and early supporter of Charles Darwin, and one of the first - and most successful - British men of science to become a full-time professional. He was also, Jim Endersby argues, the perfect embodiment of Victorian science. A vivid picture of the complex interrelationships of scientific work and scientific ideas, Imperial Nature gracefully uses one individual's career to illustrate the changing world of science in the Victorian era." By analyzing Hooker's career, Endersby offers vivid insights into the everyday activities of nineteenth-century naturalists, considering matters as diverse as botanical illustration and microscopy, classification, and specimen transportation and storage, to reveal what naturalists actually did, how they earned a living, and what drove their scientific theories. What emerges is a rare glimpse of Victorian scientific practices in action. By focusing on science's material practices and one of its foremost practitioners, Endersby ably links concerns about empire, professionalism, and philosophical practices to the forging of a nineteenth-century scientific identity.
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Editorial Reviews

Nature
A refreshing record of how scientists worked....[Endersby's] contention, with which I agree, is that the practice of science provides the context necessary for understanding how theories advanced; without this background, scientific progress looks too simple, and leaps seem extraordinary.

— Sandra Knapp

Annals of Botany
The book fills an important gap in the history of our subject, so deserves to find its way into the library of every institution where botany is taught.

— Peter Ayres

Choice
"This biography shows how science in the 19th century transformed from the activites of independently wealthy men to those of professionals paid by governments....Highly recommended."
Archives of Natural History
Endersby has done a wonderful job of thinking out and executing his charge, in good part through the aid of examples provided by personal letters that passed among the principal figures involved, and an extraordinary attention to setting out immediate contexts. These and his easy writing style give perfect shape to his main emphases: the influence of Darwinism on botanical science during this period, the characteristics of its professionalization, and the effects on its process and progress that the English colonial empire generated.

— Charles H. Smith

British Journal for the History of Science
One of the most satisfying performances of the last few years has got to be Jim Endersby’s remarkable new study of the practices and institutions of Victorian botany. . . . Endersby’s work is much more than mere biography. It greatly expands our notion of what it is to be science, to be imperial and to enroll nature in the modern period.

— Gordon McOuat

Victorian Studies
Endersby has written a remarkable, deeply researched, multidimensional study of Joseph Dalton Hooker and Victorian botanical science. . . . With this book Endersby has established himself as a strong voice among historians of Victorian science. His views will invite controversy while at the same time requiring other historians of the culture and practice of Victorian science to reconsider many of their existing presupposiitons. This is a book to be read and pondered.

— Frank M. Turner

Nature - Sandra Knapp
"A refreshing record of how scientists worked....[Endersby's] contention, with which I agree, is that the practice of science provides the context necessary for understanding how theories advanced; without this background, scientific progress looks too simple, and leaps seem extraordinary."
Annals of Botany - Peter Ayres
"The book fills an important gap in the history of our subject, so deserves to find its way into the library of every institution where botany is taught."
Archives of Natural History - Charles H. Smith
"Endersby has done a wonderful job of thinking out and executing his charge, in good part through the aid of examples provided by personal letters that passed among the principal figures involved, and an extraordinary attention to setting out immediate contexts. These and his easy writing style give perfect shape to his main emphases: the influence of Darwinism on botanical science during this period, the characteristics of its professionalization, and the effects on its process and progress that the English colonial empire generated."
British Journal for the History of Science - Gordon McOuat
"One of the most satisfying performances of the last few years has got to be Jim Endersby’s remarkable new study of the practices and institutions of Victorian botany. . . . Endersby’s work is much more than mere biography. It greatly expands our notion of what it is to be science, to be imperial and to enroll nature in the modern period."
Victorian Studies - Frank M. Turner
"Endersby has written a remarkable, deeply researched, multidimensional study of Joseph Dalton Hooker and Victorian botanical science. . . . With this book Endersby has established himself as a strong voice among historians of Victorian science. His views will invite controversy while at the same time requiring other historians of the culture and practice of Victorian science to reconsider many of their existing presupposiitons. This is a book to be read and pondered."
Choice

"This biography shows how science in the 19th century transformed from the activites of independently wealthy men to those of professionals paid by governments....Highly recommended."—Choice

Nature

"A refreshing record of how scientists worked....[Endersby's] contention, with which I agree, is that the practice of science provides the context necessary for understanding how theories advanced; without this background, scientific progress looks too simple, and leaps seem extraordinary."—Sandra Knapp, Nature

— Sandra Knapp

Victorian Studies

"Endersby has written a remarkable, deeply researched, multidimensional study of Joseph Dalton Hooker and Victorian botanical science. . . . With this book Endersby has established himself as a strong voice among historians of Victorian science. His views will invite controversy while at the same time requiring other historians of the culture and practice of Victorian science to reconsider many of their existing presupposiitons. This is a book to be read and pondered."—Frank M. Turner, Victorian Studies

— Frank M. Turner

Annals of Botany

"The book fills an important gap in the history of our subject, so deserves to find its way into the library of every institution where botany is taught."

— Peter Ayres

British Journal for the History of Science

— Gordon McOuat
Archives of Natural History

"Endersby has done a wonderful job of thinking out and executing his charge, in good part through the aid of examples provided by personal letters that passed among the principal figures involved, and an extraordinary attention to setting out immediate contexts. These and his easy writing style give perfect shape to his main emphases: the influence of Darwinism on botanical science during this period, the characteristics of its professionalization, and the effects on its process and progress that the English colonial empire generated."—Charles H. Smith, Archives of Natural History

— Charles H. Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226207919
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Endersby is a senior lecturer in the History Department at the University of Sussex.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction 1

1 Traveling 31

2 Collecting 54

3 Corresponding 84

4 Seeing 112

5 Classifying 137

6 Settling 170

7 Publishing 195

8 Charting 225

9 Associating 249

10 Governing 276

Conclusion 311

Notes 329

Bibliography 383

Index 411

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