Book ID: CBB881400768

Balloon Madness: Flights of Imagination in Britain, 1783-1786 (2017)


Brant, Clare (Author)

Boydell Press

Publication Date: 2017
Physical Details: 312 pages
Language: English

"All the world is mad about balloons" observers recorded during the craze in Britain that lasted from 1783 to 1786. Excitement about the new invention spread rapidly, inspiring hopes, visions, fashions, celebrations, satires, imaginary heroics and real adventures. In this sparkling account, Brant uses the brief moment of balloon madness as a way into a wide-ranging exploration of Enlightenment sensibility in Britain. She follows the craze as it travelled around the country, spread through crowds and shaped the daily lives and dreams of individuals. From the levity of fashion, political satire and light verse inspired by balloons, she shows how wonders of air and speed also connected with the deeper preoccupations and anxieties of eighteenth-century Britain. An aerial 'view from above' provided new moral perspectives on the place of humans in the universe and the nature of their aspirations; while the success of the French, leaders in aeronautics, unsettled national identity with visions of a new world order. The practical limitations of balloons soon put an end to one set of possibilities, but their effect on popular culture was more enduring, with meaning even today. With a cast including kings, politicians, charlatans, pickpockets, the beau monde, duellists and animals, Balloon Madness celebrates the excitement and fun of this brief but world-changing episode of history and its long afterlife in our imagination.

Reviewed By

Review Jessika Wichner (2018) Review of "Balloon Madness: Flights of Imagination in Britain, 1783-1786". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 638-639). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Thébaud-Sorger, Marie
De Oliveira, Patrick Luiz Sullivan
Heppenheimer, T. A.
Scamehorn, H. Lee
Abney, Gene
Moise, Robeson S.
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Science in Context
Histoire & Mesure
Chemical Heritage
Cuadernos Dieciochistas: revista consagrada al estudio de la historia, el pensamiento, la literatura, el arte y la ciencia del siglo XVIII
John Wiley & Sons
Southern Illinois University Press
Cacucci Editore
Russian Academy of Sciences
Smithsonian Books
Presses Universitaires de Rennes
Balloons and ballooning
Aeronautics; aviation
Aircraft; airplanes
Military technology
Popular culture
Montgolfier (brothers)
Torres Quevedo, Leonardo
Andrée, Salomon August
Charles, Jacques Alexandre César
United States
Great Britain
Illinois (U.S.)
18th century
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
17th century
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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