The Net Advance of Physics RETRO:

Poetry and Mathematical Physics in the Long Nineteenth Century

Subject Index: RELIGION

The Expulsion by Thomas Cole, 1828. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.)

The conflict between science and religion was arguably the grand intellectual theme of the Long Nineteenth Century. Romantic poets (and a surprising number of physicists) sought a middle ground; they hoped for a more spiritual or mystical kind of exact science in tune with ancient wisdom but retaining all the new discoveries, perhaps something akin to German Naturphilosophie. Other poets, including some of the best known, tended toward the extremes of anti-scientific or anti-religious sentiment. All opinions are represented here; it is perhaps a surprise that the Romantic position seems to have remained the most popular long after Darwin. One possible explanation is that new scientific insights into the age and size of the universe, far from demoralising most poets, resonated with their religious sense of the Dionysian sublime.

TECHNICAL NOTE: The great majority of the links below are to scanned antique books at the Internet Archive, most of them anthologies. Poems frequently run for several pages; when coming to the apparent end of a poem, turn the page to make sure!

Pro-Science, Anti-Religion --- Religious Doubts --- Pro-Religion, Anti-Science (or Anti-Scientism) --- Science-Religion Synthesis --- Eternity and Deep Time --- Evolution (on its own page) --- Romanticism/Naturphilosophie (on its own page) --- --- Back to Main Subject Index

THE NET ADVANCE OF PHYSICS --- Nineteenth Century Poetry