Victorians and the Prehistoric: Tracks to a Lost World

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2004 - History - 310 pages
0 Reviews

As the Victorians excavated the earth to create canals and railways in the early part of the nineteenth century, geological discoveries brought to light new narratives of the prehistoric, ideas that resounded in British society, art, and literature of the period. This engaging and generously illustrated book explores the Victorian fascination with all things prehistoric.

Michael Freeman shows how men and women were both energized and unsettled by the realization that the formation of the earth over hundreds of millions of years and Darwin’s theories about the origins of life contradicted what they had read in the Bible. He describes the rock and fossil collecting craze that emerged, the sources of inspiration and imagery discovered by writers and artists, and the new importance of geologists and paleontologists. He also discusses the cathedral-like museums that sprang up in cities and towns, shrines to all that was progressive in the age but still clothed in the trappings of traditional ideas.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Tracks to a Lost World
9
Time that Unfathomable Abyss
53
The Testimony of the Rocks
85
Let there be Dragons
131
Washing Away a World
163
Competition Competition
191
The Prehistoric as Exhibition
227
Epilogue
259
Select Bibliography
299
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2004)

Michael Freeman, supernumerary fellow and lecturer in human geography at Mansfield College, Oxford, is also the author of Railways and the Victorian Imagination, published by Yale University Press.

Bibliographic information