The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics In Victorian Science And Literature by Benjamin MorganThe Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics In Victorian Science And Literature by Benjamin Morgan

The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics In Victorian Science And Literature

byBenjamin Morgan

Paperback | May 1, 2017

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Though underexplored in contemporary scholarship, the Victorian attempts to turn aesthetics into a science remain one of the most fascinating aspects of that era. In The Outward Mind, Benjamin Morgan approaches this period of innovation as an important origin point for current attempts to understand art or beauty using the tools of the sciences. Moving chronologically from natural theology in the early nineteenth century to laboratory psychology in the early twentieth, Morgan draws on little-known archives of Victorian intellectuals such as William Morris, Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and others to argue that scientific studies of mind and emotion transformed the way writers and artists understood the experience of beauty and effectively redescribed aesthetic judgment as a biological adaptation. Looking beyond the Victorian period to humanistic critical theory today, he also shows how the historical relationship between science and aesthetics could be a vital resource for rethinking key concepts in contemporary literary and cultural criticism, such as materialism, empathy, practice, and form. At a moment when the tumultuous relationship between the sciences and the humanities is the subject of ongoing debate, Morgan argues for the importance of understanding the arts and sciences as incontrovertibly intertwined.
Benjamin Morgan is assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago.   
Title:The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics In Victorian Science And LiteratureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:May 1, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022646220X

ISBN - 13:9780226462202

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Materialist Aesthetics

Part One: Toward a Science of Beauty

1. Form: Harmony and Attunement in Empirical Aesthetics
2. Response: The Scale of Affect in Physiological Aesthetics

Part Two: The Outward Turn

3. Materiality: Walter Pater and Late-Victorian Materialisms
4. Practice: William Morris’s Socialist Physiology
5. Empathy: Counting Words with Vernon Lee and I. A. Richards
Epilogue: Wildean Neuroaesthetics


Editorial Reviews

"This brief summary cannot do justice to the remarkable breadth of Morgan’s archive, to his nuanced argumentation, or to the book’s quirky and illuminating juxtapositions. . . . Benjamin Morgan prompts his readers to see their disciplines through fresh eyes and to notice surprising legacies of Victorian thought in our current methodologies."