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Lectures held on the night of the full moon

June 2023

Lunar Lecture – ‘A short, fat little democrat’ and a pioneering doctor, scientist and poet: Thomas Beddoes and the legacy of the Lunar Society by Professor Tim Fulford

13th June 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Erasmus Darwin House, Erasmus Darwin House Beacon St
Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7AD United Kingdom
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£6.00

Thomas Beddoes was Erasmus Darwin’s self-appointed protege: he, like Darwin welcomed revolutions — whether the French Revolution in politics, the revolution in geology that showed the earth was millions of years old, or the revolution in chemistry that discovered oxygen. In the 1790s, he set up the world’s first scientific research institute — the Pneumatic Institution -- in Bristol. Funded by Darwin and his Lunar Society friends the Wedgwoods, the Watts and James Keir, it aimed to create a revolutionary…

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September 2023

Lunar Lecture – “I congratulate you on your being on the road to happiness”

27th September 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
£6.00

"I congratulate you on your being on the road to happiness" Darwin writing to Beddoes in 1794 A talk on Darwin and his connections with friends of the Beddoes and Edgeworth families and Lunar Society members.   For the last 40 years John Beddoes has been collecting information for a biography on Anna Beddoes (née Edgeworth), the wife of Dr Thomas Beddoes, who was a close friend and confidant of Dr Erasmus Darwin. The talk will include a review of over twenty personal letters between the two Doctors and will take a close look at Darwin's…

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November 2023

Lunar Lecture – The Poetics of Romantic Ecology: Erasmus Darwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley by Dr Amanda Blake Davis

27th November 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Erasmus Darwin House, Erasmus Darwin House Beacon St
Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7AD United Kingdom
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£6.00

In a well-known botanical poem, The Sensitive-Plant, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley draws upon the eroticised, emotive plants of Erasmus Darwin's Loves of the Plants, where Darwin's 'chaste mimosa' gives rise to Shelley's loveless 'sensitive-plant'. In the lesser known 'Unfinished Drama', a mysterious 'magic plant' grows, snake-like, muddling the categories of plant and animal. Centring on these two poems, this talk will explore Shelley's ecological poetics through his interrelationship with Darwin.   Tickets available here

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January 2024

Lunar Lecture – Erasmus Darwin’s ‘Commonplace Book’ and the Enlightenment Organisation of Knowledge

January 25 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Erasmus Darwin House, Erasmus Darwin House Beacon St
Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7AD United Kingdom
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£8

by Joanna C. Yates NWCDTP AHRC-Funded PhD Candidate, Keele University Joanne Yates will consider the relationship between Erasmus Darwin’s ‘Commonplace Book’ and his philosophical position as reflected in his published works. The entries Darwin recorded within this object can be divided relatively evenly into three general categories: Medical Practice, Natural History (including science and weather), and Engineering (designs and inventions). The first category contains entries that detail medical case histories, describe treatments founded in contemporary medicine, and posit the application of…

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February 2024

The Lunar Society and the Industrial Enlightenment: Origins and Significance by Dr Malcom Dick

February 22 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Erasmus Darwin House, Erasmus Darwin House Beacon St
Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7AD United Kingdom
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£8.00

Why did the Lunar Society emerge in the West Midlands in the 1760s and in what ways can we assess its importance besides exploring the lives of key individuals? This talk looks at the context in which the Lunar Men operated and suggests some agendas for future research.   Dr Malcolm Dick is Honorary Associate Professor of History at the University of Birmingham after serving as Director of the Centre for West Midlands at the University for many years. He…

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