Uniformly at Random

Posts Tagged ‘romantic

Romantic mathematics

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Here is a short quotation from the excellent book Duel at Dawn: Heroes, Martyrs, and the Rise of Modern Mathematics, by Amir Alexander:

The iconic tale of the tragic romantic mathematician, it seems clear, was both novel and exclusive in the early nineteenth century—novel because it ran counter to the images that had prevailed only a few years earlier, when mathematicians were more likely to be viewed as simple natural men than as striving romantic heroes; exclusive because the new story was reserved, among the sciences, to mathematics alone.  Only mathematics came to be viewed as a quest for pure sublime truth, only mathematics was perceived as a creative art rather than a science, and only mathematicians became tragic romantic strivers in the manner of contemporary poets, painters, and musicians.  It can well be said that in the early nineteenth century mathematics took leave of the natural sciences, which had been its companions for millennia, and sought a place for itself instead with the creative arts.

Written by uncudh

June 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Posted in math

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Like a Shark

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Richard Holmes begins his book, The Age of Wonder, with several quotations from writers and philosophers of the Romantic Period, including this one from Coleridge:

I shall attack Chemistry, like a Shark.

Reminds me of this comic from xkcd.

Written by uncudh

December 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

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It Was an English Ladye Bright

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Scott’s ballad “It Was an English Ladye Bright”, from The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805):

It was an English ladye bright,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
And she would marry a Scottish knight,
For Love will still be lord of all.

Blithely they saw the rising sun
When he shone fair on Carlisle wall;
But they were sad ere day was done,
Though Love was still the lord of all.

Her sire gave brooch and jewel fine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall;
Her brother gave but a flask of wine,
For ire that Love was lord of all.

For she had lands both meadow and lea,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
And he swore her death, ere he would see
A Scottish knight the lord of all.

That wine she had not tasted well
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
When dead, in her true love’s arms, she fell,
For Love was still the lord of all!

He pierced her brother to the heart,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall:–
So perish all would true love part
That Love may still be lord of all!

And then he took the cross divine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
And died for her sake in Palestine;
So Love was still the lord of all.

Now all ye lovers, that faithful prove,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
Pray for their souls who died for love,
For Love shall still be lord of all!

Written by uncudh

December 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Posted in literature

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Ozymandias

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Shelley’s famous sonnet “Ozymandias”:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Written by uncudh

November 23, 2008 at 9:19 pm

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On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

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Keats’ sonnet “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”:

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific — and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Written by uncudh

November 20, 2008 at 11:45 pm

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