The concept of eccentricity was central to how people in the nineteenth century understood their world. This monograph is the first scholarly history of eccentricity. Carroll explores how discourses of eccentricity were established to make sense of individuals who did not seem to fit within an increasingly organized social and economic order. She focuses on the self-taught natural philosopher William Martin, the fossilist Thomas Hawkins and the taxidermist Charles Waterton.
Carroll persuasively establishes the historical specificity of eccentricity to nineteenth-century scientific, literary, and popular culture, as well as the formative way eccentricity functioned in relation to scientific disciplines.
This highly creative and easily readable work offers us a new and insightful series of categories for historical analysis and research.