Written by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the essay presents a discussion on the views of famous Romantic Literature poets on the subject of science. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was an astrophysicist and Nobel laureate. Chandrasekhar uses his knowledge of science to discern between the scientific views of famous poets like William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. Chandrasekhar chose these poets in particular because they adhered to the Romantic Movement's ideals, which majorly affected the science of the 19th century.
In this essay, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar discusses the differences of views between the three poets. In the essay, he remarks that Wordsworth draws his readers' attention towards Nature, and Keats talks about the dual facet of human nature, which is inseparable. In contrast, Shelley presents a completely different view of science in his poems. Wordsworth and Keats were critical about the exploitation of nature, whereas Shelley revelled in scientific discoveries. Chandrasekhar also presents the scientific criticisms of these poets in the essay.
He quotes Lowes Dickison's remark on literature, which states that Science expels Literature and presents the counter-argument made by Peter Medawar. Chandrasekhar deems Shelley most suitable to be considered a "scientist's poet" as his works reflect a harmonious amalgamation of science and poetry. He points out in his essay that "it is not an accident that the most discriminating literary criticism" of Shelley's works is by the distinguished scientist Desmond King-Hele. In his essay, Chandrasekhar quotes Darwin's statement that he enjoyed Shelley's poetry to highlight Shelley as a "scientist's poet." Chandrasekhar has quoted several works of Shelley, including the poem "The Cloud'', essay 'A Defence of Poetry and the play 'Prometheus Unbound' to further establish his point in the essay.
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