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Times Higher Education SupplementThe book is a substantial work of scholarship rather than a casual read, and it offers much for historians of science as well as students of popular writing.”
— Jon Turney
The ideas of Charles Darwin and his fellow Victorian scientists have had an abiding effect on the modern world. But at the time The Origin of Species was published in 1859, the British public looked not to practicing scientists but to a growing group of professional writers and journalists to interpret the larger meaning of scientific theories in terms they could understand and in ways they could appreciate. Victorian Popularizers of Science focuses on this important group of men and women who wrote about science for a general audience in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Bernard Lightman examines more than thirty of the most prolific, influential, and interesting popularizers of the day, investigating the dramatic lecturing techniques, vivid illustrations, and accessible literary styles they used to communicate with their audience. By focusing on a forgotten coterie of science writers, their publishers, and their public, Lightman offers new insights into the role of women in scientific inquiry, the market for scientific knowledge, tensions between religion and science, and the complexities of scientific authority in nineteenth-century Britain.
— Jon Turney
— Philip J. Pauly
— Jonathan Smith
— Matthew Stanley
— Oliver Hochadel
— David Knight
— Graeme Gooday
— Marilyn R.P. Morgan
"A major contributions to the study of popular science in nineteenth-century Britain. . . . Lightman offers by far the fullest and most comprehensive account of the popularization of science in Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century yet to be undertaken, and his study revises our understanding of Victorian popular science in significant ways."
"Victorian Popularizers is not just a history of science ‘from below’, although it effectively capitalizes on that literature. Rather, it is an important story of how some Victorians rebelled against the claim that only scientists should have authority over science. Lightman deftly shows how questions of authority were bound up in matters of publishing, church reform, professionalization, gender dynamics, visual spectacle and social change, and he makes substantial contributions to understanding the relationship between those matters and science. Historians interested in any of these issues will find this book enriching and thought provoking. The author’s insights into the world of Victorian science publishing offer important lessons for our own era’s continuing struggle with the question of scientific authority."
Historians, Popularizers, and the Victorian Scene
Anglican Theologies of Nature in a Post-Darwinian Era
Redefining the Maternal Tradition
The Showmen of Science: Wood, Pepper, and Visual Spectacle
The Evolution of the Evolutionary Epic
The Science Periodical: Proctor and the Conduct of “Knowledge”
Practitioners Enter the Field: Huxley and Ball as Popularizers
Science Writing on New Grub Street
Remapping the Terrain