The culture of English geology, 1815-1851 : a science revealed through its collecting /
Simon J. Knell.
Aldershot ; Burlington, USA : Ashgate, c2000.
xxi, 377 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Aldershot ; Burlington, USA : Ashgate, c2000.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
This item was reviewed in:
SciTech Book News, September 2000
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This book examines the development of geology collections in the first half of the 19th century. It investigates the social motives of science and demonstrates that these determined what geology became.
Long Description
Using fossils as a common currency linking labourer to aristocrat, dilettante to savant, gift-giver to local élite, this book explains why geology became so popular in the early nineteenth century. It is a study which says as much about English society as it does about geology's own internal workings.Taken on a journey across provincial England, through Yorkshire, Devon and the Malverns, and then into Wales, the reader discovers a science of jealousy and contradiction where social skills are as important as fieldcraft; where rival societies use science to pursue civic status and fossils become integral to social progression and hopes of immortality; where geology is legitimised by an élite but built upon the efforts of the lowly.Here collecting and the exchange of fossils become means to understand motives and relationships. Prominent in this book are William Smith, here shown in new light, his nephew John Phillips, the English philosophical societies and Henry De la Beche's Geological Survey. It is a book of detail, of involving stories, analysis and synthesis which looks beyond science as simply the pursuit of natural knowledge and explains this popularity as more than the product of mere fashion. Here geology becomes much more fundamental to human existence than either of these. The result of eight years' research in museums and archives, and built on some twenty years of museum experience, this book culminates in a rethinking of geology's heroic age, showing that the geologists themselves were also carefully constructing an image of themselves for future generations.
Table of Contents
List of figuresp. vii
List of tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xix
Primary sources with abbreviationsp. xxi
New science--new territory
A science of fossilsp. 3
A culture of opportunityp. 28
The structure of provincial science
Geology and the philosophical societiesp. 49
Building the collecting communityp. 73
Keepers of the museump. 92
Geology as a collecting science
Collecting: meaning and directionp. 115
Geology and the collector networkp. 135
Collecting in pursuit of answersp. 171
Fossils in the marketplacep. 193
Endings and beginnings
The problem of free enterprisep. 225
Establishing a new orderp. 253
The end of an agep. 284
The culture of English geology
The making of a heroic agep. 305
Bibliographyp. 337
Indexp. 365
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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