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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Philosophy” was the eighteenth-century term for the discursive formations we now group together as “science.” Even those poems not explicitly about science were nevertheless significantly informed by contemporary scientific thought, as Marjorie Hope Nicolson demonstrated more than sixty years ago. Poets addressed a wide range of philosophical topics, including “physicotheology” (Blackmore’s Creation), theogony (Pope’s Essay on Man), aesthetics (Akenside’s Pleasures of Imagination), and cosmic nature (Thomson’s Seasons). Other texts discussed in this chapter include “biblical biography,” notably Prior’s Solomon, poems of moral consolation (Young’s Night Thoughts), and the unclassifiable scientific fantasy by Erasmus Darwin, The Botanic Garden.

Keywords: poetry, science, philosophy, education, genres

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