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Theatres of Glass: The Woman Who Brought the Sea to the City Hardcover – 1 Oct 2003
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Thynne decides to transport living madrepores--a species of coral--from the seaside to London. This required her to find a way to keep the water suitably fresh and briny. As she succeeded, she was able to study them in a more extended and intimate way than had been possible before, discovering for example how they reproduced. The small details Stott shares of Anna's inventiveness and curiosity are always vivid and telling, and her discussion of the larger context of the time is sound and beautifully written. Stott deftly depicts the tradition of 19th-century women fascinated by, and actively engaged in the study of, natural history--a fun and useful correction for all of those who picture Victorian women as little more than fainting, corseted denizens of the drawing room. As she demonstrates, female reality was much more complex and interesting than that, and the era more generally was much more contentious, questing, and "modern" than clichés suggest.
In addition to being a wonderful read for anyone who loves the 19th century and/or is interested in its accomplished women, "Theatres of Glass" is the perfect gift for a younger woman or girl interested in pursuing a career in science. As it proves, women fascinated by science today are part of a long if sometimes overlooked tradition.