Book ID: CBB902136789

The Voice of Science: British Scientists on the Lecture Circuit in Gilded Age America (2021)


Finnegan, Diarmid A. (Author)

University of Pittsburgh Press

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 352
Language: English

For many in the nineteenth century, the spoken word had a vivacity and power that exceeded other modes of communication. This conviction helped to sustain a diverse and dynamic lecture culture that provided a crucial vehicle for shaping and contesting cultural norms and beliefs. As science increasingly became part of public culture and debate, its spokespersons recognized the need to harness the presumed power of public speech to recommend the moral relevance of scientific ideas and attitudes. With this wider context in mind, The Voice of Science explores the efforts of five celebrity British scientists—John Tyndall, Thomas Henry Huxley, Richard Proctor, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Henry Drummond—to articulate and embody a moral vision of the scientific life on American lecture platforms. These evangelists for science negotiated the fraught but intimate relationship between platform and newsprint culture and faced the demands of audiences searching for meaningful and memorable lecture performances. As Diarmid Finnegan reveals, all five attracted unrivaled attention, provoking responses in the press, from church pulpits, and on other platforms. Their lectures became potent cultural catalysts, provoking far-reaching debate on the consequences and relevance of scientific thought for reconstructing cultural meaning and moral purpose.

Reviewed By

Review Nathan E. C. Smith (2023) Review of "The Voice of Science: British Scientists on the Lecture Circuit in Gilded Age America". Archives of Natural History (pp. 438-439). unapi

Review James A. Secord (2022) Review of "The Voice of Science: British Scientists on the Lecture Circuit in Gilded Age America". British Journal for the History of Science (pp. 117-119). unapi

Review Gowan Dawson (2023) Review of "The Voice of Science: British Scientists on the Lecture Circuit in Gilded Age America". Public Understanding of Science (pp. 121-122). unapi

Review Courtney E. Thompson (2022) Review of "The Voice of Science: British Scientists on the Lecture Circuit in Gilded Age America". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 670-671). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Lightman, Bernard V.
Barton, Ruth
Alberto Bentoglio
Marco Castellari
Alessandro Costazza
Giacomelli, Joseph Nereo
Victorian Literature and Culture
Science, Technology, and Human Values
History of Science
Environment and History
Archives of Natural History
American Literary History
University of Chicago Press
World Scientific
University of North Carolina Press
Science and culture
Science and ethics
Science and religion
Naturalism (philosophy)
Science and literature
Science and entertainment; science and spectacle
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Tyndall, John
Hooker, Joseph Dalton
Spencer, Herbert
Oppenheimer, J. Robert
Clifford, William Kingdon
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
Gilded Age (1870s-1900)
United States
Great Britain
Milan (Italy)
London (England)
Metaphysical Society
Royal Institution of Great Britain

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