The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse

Research output: ResearchDoctoral Thesis

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The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse. / Nicol, Adam.

2010.

Research output: ResearchDoctoral Thesis

Harvard

Nicol, A 2010, 'The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse', Doctor of Philosophy.

APA

Nicol, A. (2010). The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse

Vancouver

Nicol A. The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse. 2010.

Author

Nicol, Adam. / The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse. 2010.

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@phdthesis{22f3262bea494867ae44acb68bd67f47,
title = "The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse",
abstract = "Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), the British naturalist, biologist and science populariser, is the type of writer who will, on the same page, transcribe the minute details of the orientation of ‘small nuclear lamina’ on the ‘angular plates’ of a tortoise, and refer to the whole as a ‘high-domed house of bones’. Memorably described by Stephen Jay Gould as ‘the David Attenborough of his day’, Gosse wrote popular natural history volumes that sought an unsteady balance between exacting biological detail, engaging narrative anthropomorphism, and firm natural theology. These registers contribute to a discursive practice, exploration of which will inform my own approach to Gosse’s oeuvre. Gosse’s writing caught the imagination of the Victorian reading public: works such as A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast (1853) brought the middle class to the shore; The Aquarium (1854) brought the shore back into the middle class home; and The Romance of Natural History (1860) taught the ‘Poet’s Way’ of nature studies. But, as Lynn Merrill puts it, ‘Of Philip Gosse, two legacies remain—both of them unfortunate’. Today Gosse is remembered principally as a symbol, rather than a writer: as the withholding, Calvinist bully of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907), or as the supposedly feeble casuist of the Omphalos model (1857), who sought to run Genesis and geology in parallel, through a model of implied history. In each, he remains the defeated party in the battle of ideas which marked the latter half of the Victorian era. This thesis seeks not to redeem Gosse from these interpretations, as such, but to trace his own imaginative project: to read a model of natural history which animates his writings, and which is peculiar to him among the wealth of nineteenthcentury popularisers of science.",
keywords = "Philip Henry Gosse, Natural history, Science and literature, Nineteenth-century literature, Victorian science",
author = "Adam Nicol",
note = "Restricted access until 17 June 2015",
year = "2010",

}

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TY - THES

T1 - The romance of natural history: the imaginative project of Philip Henry Gosse

AU - Nicol,Adam

N1 - Restricted access until 17 June 2015

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), the British naturalist, biologist and science populariser, is the type of writer who will, on the same page, transcribe the minute details of the orientation of ‘small nuclear lamina’ on the ‘angular plates’ of a tortoise, and refer to the whole as a ‘high-domed house of bones’. Memorably described by Stephen Jay Gould as ‘the David Attenborough of his day’, Gosse wrote popular natural history volumes that sought an unsteady balance between exacting biological detail, engaging narrative anthropomorphism, and firm natural theology. These registers contribute to a discursive practice, exploration of which will inform my own approach to Gosse’s oeuvre. Gosse’s writing caught the imagination of the Victorian reading public: works such as A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast (1853) brought the middle class to the shore; The Aquarium (1854) brought the shore back into the middle class home; and The Romance of Natural History (1860) taught the ‘Poet’s Way’ of nature studies. But, as Lynn Merrill puts it, ‘Of Philip Gosse, two legacies remain—both of them unfortunate’. Today Gosse is remembered principally as a symbol, rather than a writer: as the withholding, Calvinist bully of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907), or as the supposedly feeble casuist of the Omphalos model (1857), who sought to run Genesis and geology in parallel, through a model of implied history. In each, he remains the defeated party in the battle of ideas which marked the latter half of the Victorian era. This thesis seeks not to redeem Gosse from these interpretations, as such, but to trace his own imaginative project: to read a model of natural history which animates his writings, and which is peculiar to him among the wealth of nineteenthcentury popularisers of science.

AB - Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), the British naturalist, biologist and science populariser, is the type of writer who will, on the same page, transcribe the minute details of the orientation of ‘small nuclear lamina’ on the ‘angular plates’ of a tortoise, and refer to the whole as a ‘high-domed house of bones’. Memorably described by Stephen Jay Gould as ‘the David Attenborough of his day’, Gosse wrote popular natural history volumes that sought an unsteady balance between exacting biological detail, engaging narrative anthropomorphism, and firm natural theology. These registers contribute to a discursive practice, exploration of which will inform my own approach to Gosse’s oeuvre. Gosse’s writing caught the imagination of the Victorian reading public: works such as A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast (1853) brought the middle class to the shore; The Aquarium (1854) brought the shore back into the middle class home; and The Romance of Natural History (1860) taught the ‘Poet’s Way’ of nature studies. But, as Lynn Merrill puts it, ‘Of Philip Gosse, two legacies remain—both of them unfortunate’. Today Gosse is remembered principally as a symbol, rather than a writer: as the withholding, Calvinist bully of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907), or as the supposedly feeble casuist of the Omphalos model (1857), who sought to run Genesis and geology in parallel, through a model of implied history. In each, he remains the defeated party in the battle of ideas which marked the latter half of the Victorian era. This thesis seeks not to redeem Gosse from these interpretations, as such, but to trace his own imaginative project: to read a model of natural history which animates his writings, and which is peculiar to him among the wealth of nineteenthcentury popularisers of science.

KW - Philip Henry Gosse

KW - Natural history

KW - Science and literature

KW - Nineteenth-century literature

KW - Victorian science

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -

ID: 3228609