Victorians and the Prehistoric: Tracks to a Lost World

Victorians and the Prehistoric: Tracks to a Lost World

by Michael Freeman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300103344

ISBN-13: 9780300103342

Pub. Date: 08/30/2004

Publisher: Yale University Press

As the Victorians excavated the earth to create canals and railways in the early part of the nineteenth century, geological discoveries brought to light new narratives of the prehistoric, ideas that resounded in British society, art, and literature of the period. This engaging and generously illustrated book explores the Victorian fascination with all things

Overview

As the Victorians excavated the earth to create canals and railways in the early part of the nineteenth century, geological discoveries brought to light new narratives of the prehistoric, ideas that resounded in British society, art, and literature of the period. This engaging and generously illustrated book explores the Victorian fascination with all things prehistoric.

Michael Freeman shows how men and women were both energized and unsettled by the realization that the formation of the earth over hundreds of millions of years and Darwin’s theories about the origins of life contradicted what they had read in the Bible. He describes the rock and fossil collecting craze that emerged, the sources of inspiration and imagery discovered by writers and artists, and the new importance of geologists and paleontologists. He also discusses the cathedral-like museums that sprang up in cities and towns, shrines to all that was progressive in the age but still clothed in the trappings of traditional ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300103342
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
08/30/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.75(w) x 9.63(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgementsvii
Photograph Creditsix
Prologue1
1Tracks to a Lost World9
An Island Jewel10
Canal Geology28
The Iron Road41
2Time ... that Unfathomable Abyss53
Worlds without End54
'Old Principles Working New Results'64
'From Greenland's Icy Mountains'72
Vestiges in Time79
3The Testimony of the Rocks85
Discovering Eden85
Reading the Earth91
Artistic Visions96
Observation, Observation, Observation108
Brandishing the Torch of Science118
Representing the Earth122
4'Let there be Dragons'131
A Land with Real Monsters131
Recovering Former Life-Worlds142
Journeying the Vast Deserts of Space and Time148
The Craze for Natural History154
5'Washing Away a World'163
Re-imagining the Deluge163
The Deluge as Geological Witness178
6Competition, Competition ...191
A Ferment of Money, Ideas and Beliefs192
Darwin's 'Story'199
Looking into the Unknown213
7The Prehistoric as Exhibition227
Natural Worlds on Show228
The Museum is Born231
Narrating the Prehistoric243
'... But is this the Prehistoric World at all?'249
Epilogue259
Notes264
Select Bibliography299
Index301

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >