All posts tagged: The Age of Wonder

Wonder

Imagine living 99 years inspired by a sense of wonder. Entering into the world as children, we began with the curiosity and amazement found at the heart of a wonder-filled life. Yet along our journeys, most step out of this sense of wonderment and instead become cautious, cynical, hardened, haughty or any number of other traits designed to protect our egos and allow us to function—or so we believe—in the adult world. In taking that step, we too often lose a generous, more imaginative perspective. Wonder came into my consciousness last week while I was in Charlottesville for the memorial service of a long-time friend, Anne Worrell. I met Anne soon after moving to Virginia in the early 1980s, and over the years I came to know her primarily as a historic preservationist, businesswoman, newspaper publisher, philanthropist, and convener extraordinaire. With her husband Gene she founded their first newspaper, the Virginia Tennessean, in Bristol, and together they grew the company to be one of the largest chains of small dailies in the country. Anne, who …

The Age of Wonder

During high school graduation ceremonies for Andrew, one of the speakers built her remarks around a relatively new work at the time that captured the love of knowledge and learning. Five years later, I finally  picked up Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder (first published in 2008).  Sometimes it takes a while, but I try never to pass up a good book recommendation. And I’m so glad I did.  The Age of Wonder is a terrific work which looks at the growth of science in the Romantic Age.  Holmes tackles this broad topic with a blend of history, biography, art, science, and philosophy. In 500 pages that seem to fly by, the reader follows the intertwined stories of such historical luminaries as astronomer William Herschel and his sister Caroline, botanist Joseph Banks, chemist Humphry Davy, and writers such as Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Keats. The book rightly received stellar reviews from the start, which I cannot top.  “Flat-out fascinating,” “groundbreaking,” and “superlative” are just a few of the descriptions applied to this …