Chapter

Enter the Mammoth

in The Earth on Show

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226616681
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226616704 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226616704.003.0002
Enter the Mammoth

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This chapter discusses how showmanship underpinned geology's public appeal in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, whipped up in guidebooks such as Peale's Historical Disquisition that presented fossils as sublime relics of a legendary past. Practicing geologists may have repudiated such rhetoric as a rule, but even they had their uses for it when promoting their science as worth the attention of polite society. This is illustrated in the final section of the chapter, which turns to the English translation of a work by Cuvier in which the grand historical vistas of Enlightenment “theories of the earth” were recast in a new and approved guise.

Keywords: showmanship; geology; geologists; science; Cuvier

Chapter.  15830 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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