Thursday, July 9, 2009

America will soon be habituated to the vast

I have written here before about Richard Holmes's Age of Wonder, to be published in this country next Tuesday.

It got a money review from Janet Maslin in the NYT this morning (it's at #26 on Amazon), and she gets it, as she so often seems to do:

William Herschel, the German-born, star-gazing musician who effectively doubled the size of the solar system with a single discovery in 1781, was not regarded as a scientist. That word had not been coined during most of the era that will now be known, thanks to Richard Holmes’s amazingly ambitious, buoyant new fusion of history, art, science, philosophy and biography, as “The Age of Wonder.” And Mr. Holmes’s excitement at fusing long-familiar events and personages into something startlingly new is not unlike the exuberance of the age that animates his groundbreaking book..... a kind of throwaway brilliance... makes it so enthralling.

You can hear a fifteen minute talk by Holmes about the influence of Herschel on Haydn here

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