The Poet's Mind: The Psychology of Victorian Poetry 1830-1870 - Oxford English Monographs (Hardback)
  • The Poet's Mind: The Psychology of Victorian Poetry 1830-1870 - Oxford English Monographs (Hardback)
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The Poet's Mind: The Psychology of Victorian Poetry 1830-1870 - Oxford English Monographs (Hardback)

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£105.00
Hardback 214 Pages / Published: 08/11/2012
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The Poet's Mind is a major study of how Victorian poets thought and wrote about the human mind. It argues that Victorian poets, inheriting from their Romantic forerunners the belief that subjective thoughts and feelings were the most important materials for poetry, used their writing both to give expression to mental processes and to scrutinise and analyse those processes. In this volume Gregory Tate considers why and how psychological analysis became an increasingly important element of poetic theory and practice in the mid-nineteenth century, a time when the discipline of psychology was emerging alongside the growing recognition that the workings of the mind might be understood using the analytical methods of science. The writings of Victorian poets often show an awareness of this psychology, but, at the same time, the language and tone of their psychological verse, and especially their ambivalent use of terms such as 'brain', 'mind', and 'soul', voice an unresolved tension, felt throughout Victorian culture, between scientific theories of psychology and metaphysical or religious accounts of selfhood. The Poet's Mind considers the poetry of Browning, Tennyson, Arnold, Clough, and George Eliot, offering detailed readings of several major Victorian poems, and presenting new evidence of their authors' interest in contemporary psychological theory. Ranging across lyric verse, epic poetry, and the dramatic monologue, the book explores the ways in which poetry simultaneously drew on, resisted, and contributed to the spread of scientific theories of mind in Victorian Britain.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199659418
Number of pages: 214
Weight: 398 g
Dimensions: 222 x 157 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This deft monograph studies with care the careful study that major Victorian poets made of the thinking, feeling mind, in relation to both the brain it increasingly seemed made from and the soul it increasingly seemed to supplant. * Herbert F. Tucker, Journal of Victorian Culture *
Tate's volume constitutes an important development in the study of Victorian literature and psychology. * Anne Stiles, Review of English Studies *
[a] lucidly argued study ... a very readable and timely reminder that Victorian poets' engagement with contemporary science went well beyond that staple of undergraduate courses, evolutionary theory. * Britta Martens, Times Higher Education *
[a] well-written study ... Recommended. * T. Hoagwood, Choice *
It is a tribute to Tate's study, and a marker of the influence it will have on the field, that it leads its readers beyond its own bounds to consider how far its ideas and approaches could be applied, and how its findings would be refracted, in the poems of other writers of the period. * John Holmes, Tennyson Research Bulletin *
this work elegantly explores the intersection of nineteenth-century poetics and psychology. * Lindsy Lawrence, Victorian Periodicals *
Tate's book is a solid addition to the Oxford English Monographs series, and should appeal both to poetry scholars, and those with an interest in the broader influence of psychological thought. Tate's study successfully demonstrates poets' struggle grappling with the materialist and spiritualist ideas of the human brain. * Amy Milne-Smith, Journal of the History of Behaviorial Sciences *
Tate allows us to glimpse how the poets saw personal identity, the idea of the soul, mans place in the world, and the relation between mind and body, thought and feeling. * Serena Trowbridge, SHARP News. *
The Poets Mind is full of well-observed zoomings-in on the cogs and gears of poems; seemingly banal or readily understandable words like brain, mind, heart, body, and soul become more like Empsonian complex words. * Benjamin Westwood, Victorian Network *

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