Skepticism and Surmise in Humphry Davy

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This article focuses on Humphry Davy's poetry and his fascination with fragmentary, mediated, and fleeting perception. Davy (1778-1829) became the best known natural philosopher in Regency England in part by applying voltaic electricity to isolate new substances-including the new metals he named "sodium" and "potassium." The experiments impressed other philosophers because they supported his suspicion that "electric affinity" might be the force binding elements together in compounds. Davy was also a writer. Chemical hypotheses mingle with political philosophy and lyric poetry in his notebooks.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalWordsworth Circle
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Skepticism
  • Romantic poetry
  • natural philosophy
  • lyric poetry
  • empiricism
  • reasoning
  • self consciousness
  • consciousness
  • philosophy of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Cultural Studies


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