The Fairyland of Science by Arabella B. Buckley

£150.00

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Edward Stanford, 1899. 247 pages. Black & white illustrations, engravings in text. Minor rubbing to edges, occasional foxing, a white mark is present on the spine decoration. Very good copy. Scarce example. Beautiful gilt pictorial boards; a duo of angels gaze at the majesty of the sun amongst vines and trees.

'Originally a set of lectures delivered to children in 1878. The author Arabella Buckley was one of the first writers to translate Darwinian evolution into popular terms. She communicated scientific concepts through enchantment and metaphorical language, in an attempt to distance science from the mechanistic and materialistic philosophies it was connected to at the time. Whilst her books were still scientifically accurate and extremely lucid.
Her work can be associated with the tradition of books such as Charles Kingsley's Glaucus or the Wonders of the Shore (1855) which ignited the Victorian craze for the popular pursuit of the natural world, seen in a framework of what has been called 'muscular Christianity'. However, Buckley veered away from this hyper-masculinised narrative of nature and science; tending to avoid technical language, the mechanisms of natural selection, using narrative and metaphor to reach a wide audience.'

"I have promised to introduce you today to the fairy-land of science; a somewhat bold promise, seeing that most of you probably look upon science as a bundle of dry facts, while fairy-land is all that is beautiful, and full of poetry and imagination. But I thoroughly believe myself, and hope to prove to you, that science is full of beautiful pictures, of real poetry, and of wonder-working fairies...

The ancient Greeks worshipped the sun, and condemned to death one of their great philosophers,  Anaxagoras, because he denied that it was a god. We can scarcely wonder at this when we see what the sun does for our world; but we know it is a huge globe made of gases and fiery matter, and not a god.
We are grateful of the sun instead of to him, and surely we shall look at him with new interest, now that we can picture his tiny messengers, the sunbeams, flitting over all space, falling upon our earth, giving us light to see with, and beautiful colours to enjoy, warming the air and the earth, making the refreshing rain, and filling our life with gladness and happiness."