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The Outward Mind – Materialist Aesthetics in Victorian Science and Literature - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics in Victorian Science and Literature

Benjamin Morgan


The Outward Mind argues that Victorian writers and scientists developed new and controversial accounts of aesthetic experience by returning attention to the human body and to the materiality of artworks. In contrast with accounts of the period that have understood aesthetic judgment as a mode of individual expression or self-cultivation, the book recovers a materialist science of aesthetics in which the experience of beauty was seen as a moment of unconscious contact between the human nervous system and the materiality of an art object. Analyzing archives related to literary figures such as Jo ... More

Keywords: form, materialism, empathy, affect, physiological aesthetics, John Ruskin, William Morris, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, Alexander Bain

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780226442112
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226457468.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Benjamin Morgan, author
University of Chicago