The Shadow of Enlightenment: Optical and Political Transparency in France 1789-1848 (Hardback)
  • The Shadow of Enlightenment: Optical and Political Transparency in France 1789-1848 (Hardback)
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The Shadow of Enlightenment: Optical and Political Transparency in France 1789-1848 (Hardback)

(author)
£78.00
Hardback 202 Pages / Published: 08/01/2009
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This book is the first to place revolutionary advances in light and optics in the cultural context of France in the first half of the nineteenth century. The narrative follows the work and careers of France's two chief rivals on the subject of light: Arago and Biot. Their disagreement began on the subject of technical optics, but expanded to include politics, religion, agricultural policy, education, dinner companions, housing arrangements, photography, railroads, vital forces, astrology, the Egyptian calendar, and colonial slavery. At the heart of their disagreement was always a question of visibility, and the extent of transparency or obscurity they assigned to the world. Optical transparency formed a crucial condition for Arago's vision of a liberal republic governed by reason. Biot's call for strong forms of authority rested on his claims that the world did not offer itself up for universal agreement so easily.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199544707
Number of pages: 202
Weight: 487 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
The strange and amazingly broad complementarity between Arago and Biot comes out very well in The Shadow of Enlightenment, which I recommend to all readers interested in nineteenth century France. * Klaus Hentschel, Book Reviews - ISIS *
Like its subject matter, this fascinating book makes a mockery of the 'two cultures' debate, and should appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of science and the origins of the way we see our world. * Physics World *

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