The notion of wonder

I’m reading Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder. I read the first chapter, on Joseph Banks in Tahiti, this morning – it’s enthralling, and rather inspiring.

I was struck by something Holmes said in the prologue.

Romanticism as a cultural force is generally regarded as intensely hostile to science, its ideal of subjectivity eternally opposed to that of scientific objectivity. But I do not believe this was always the case, or that the terms are so mutually exclusive. The notion of wonder seems to be something that once united them, and can still do so. In effect there is Romantic science in the same sense there is Romantic poetry, and often for the same enduring reasons.

Yes exactly – and the scientists I’m familiar with are of that kind.

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