Science always raises more questions than it can contain. These acclaimed and challenging essays explore how ideas are transformed as they come under the stress of unforeseen readers. Using a wealth of material from diverse nineteenth- and twentieth-century writing, Gillian Beer tracks encounters between science, literature, and other forms of emotional experience. Her analysis discloses issues of chance, gender, nation, and desire. A substantial group of essays centres on Darwin and the incentives of his thinking from language theory to his encounters with Fuegians. Other essays include Hardy, Helmholtz, Hopkins, Clerk Maxwell, and Woolf. The collection throws a different light on Victorian experience and the rise of modernism, and engages with current controversies about the place of science in culture.