Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Age of Wonder

The Essay series on BBC Radio 3 has resumed its Enlightenment theme whis week with five programmes about Haydn. Wednesday's issue featured the biographer Richard Holmes talking about possible influences on Haydn's "Creation" oratorio of his visit to William Herschel's observatory in Slough, and Erasmus Darwin whose poem "Zoonomia" came out in 1791, at the time when Haydn was in this country. In particular his, non-biblical, depiction of the Chaos from which the Universe supposedly emerged.

Richard Holmes is also the author of The Age of Wonder which explores the history of that period and the relationship between the romantic poets and artists and the scientists and explorers of the time. This has received glowing reviews and won the Royal Society's Prize for science book of the year.

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