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Erasmus Darwin

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INTRODUCTION: SERENDIPITY ; THE LOVES OF THE TRIANGLES ; POETRY, GEOMETRY, AND SATIRE ; I.1 Erasmus Darwin ; I.2 The Loves of the Triangles ; I.3 A Triangle of Poets ; THE LOVES OF THE PLANTS ; BOTANY, WOMEN, AND MORALITY ; II.1 The Loves of the Plants ; II.2 Women on Trial ; II.3 Seraglios ; THE ECONOMY OF VEGETATION ; KNOWLEDGE, POWER, AND SOCIETY ; III.1 The Lunar Society ; III.2 The Economy of Vegetation ; III.3 The Triangular Slave Trade ; THE TEMPLE OF NATURE ; PROGRESS, RACE, AND EVOLUTION ; IV.1 Defining People ; IV.2 The Temple of Nature ; IV.3 Origins ; CONCLUSION: REPUTATIONS & REFLECTIONS ; Appendix: 'The Loves of the Triangles' ; Bibliography ; Index

About the Author

Patricia Fara lectures in the history of science at Cambridge University, where she is the Senior Tutor of Clare College. A specialist in Enlightenment England, her main passion is explaining to non-academic audiences why the history of science is so fascinating and so important. Her most recent book, Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009), won the Dingle prize awarded by the British Society for the History of Science. Her other successful publications include Newton: The Making of Genius (2002), Sex, Botany and Empire (2003) and Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004). An experienced public lecturer, she appears regularly in TV documentaries and radio programmes such as In our Time and Start the Week. She also contributes articles and reviews to many journals, including History Today, BBC History, New Scientist, Prospect, Nature, and the Times Literary Supplement.


Fara is no dry academic and her pleasing book is, in part, an entertaining account of her research journey in the Rare Books Department of Cambridge University Library and elsewhere. Some of her discoveries are engagingly serendipitous - an important, but sometimes understated feature of serious research. Susan Elkin, Independent on Sunday An ingenious and engaging romp through the unexpected byways of scientific and social history. The Lancet Fara's account is a welcome addition to the existing works on Darwin and offers a new way of understanding him as an important figure of the Enlightenment. History West Midlands This biography fills an important niche in Enlightenment history ... Highly recommended. J.B. Hagen, CHOICE

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