Working on some academic gobbledygook on the relationship between romanticism and science I’ve come into close contact with (i.e. am reading) a neat book — a collection of essays by a historian of science David M. Knight focused on the above-mentioned connection. It’s dense history, but there is also something charmingly engaging about his style. You can tell he’s a true scholar — versatile, passionate and poetic. What academics should be, but rarely are. Then again, few of them bother with concepts like romanticism, preferring to assume such terms are silly and irrelevant to the postmodern condition.
Knight, in contrast, takes the notion seriously, teasing out romantic meaning in a domain often portrayed as inured to cultural context. He shows, through thoroughness balanced with panache, how absurd this preconception is. Good stuff.
David M. Knight, Science in the Romantic Era (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998).