Elements in the Structure of Victorian Science or Cannon Revisited

  • Trevor H. Levere
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 110)


Twenty years ago, the late Walter Cannon addressed the History of Science Society on the historiography of nineteenth-century science. His paper, subsequently revised and published under the title “History in Depth”,1 has served as both gad-fly and encouragement. First, there was the implicit assertion of the dignity of the subject, and the challenge posed by what Cannon portrayed as the failure of other historians. “To be sure”, he remarked, “the history of science is no more the true center of British history in the nineteenth century than is the history of Parliament. But it is no less so. And historians of Parliament, or of politics, have amply had their chance, from Halévy on, to produce full and convincing history. And they have failed. So have ‘social’ historians. And attempts to construct ‘cultural’ history on the basis of literary culture alone are not very promising”.


Statistical Explanation British Association Natural Theology Teenth Century Inaugural Address 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1985

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  • Trevor H. Levere

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