Catalogue


Victorian psychology and British culture, 1850-1880 [electronic resource] /
Rick Rylance.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
description
x, 355 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0198122837
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
isbn
0198122837
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
9834082
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [331]-350) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Sonya Rudikoff Book Award, USA, 2001 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-05-01:
Victorian England tried to resolve questions of mind-body/mind-soul issues through various psychologies. Shifts from spiritualized or rationalist approaches to idealist, materialist, structuralist models encouraged the speculation or dogmatism of writers from Eliot to Lewes. Rylance (English, Anglia Polytechnic Univ.) presents first a general historical account that includes the political orientation of the contestants and issues about mental organization, sensation, and evolution of consciousness. Part 2 comprises essays on the particular models of Bain, Spencer, and Lewes. Unfortunately, redundancy and diffusion plague this study, as Rylance cites and recites writers on particular conceptions of mind or social implications of psychological models. Though ample, sometimes lengthy, footnotes and a two-part bibliography (Victorian and contemporary sources) satisfy the needs of scholarship, the textual flow clots in places. Undergraduate readers will find the first two volumes of P eter Gay's The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud (1984; CH, Jul'86) more accessible for cultural background, L.S. Hearnshaw's A Short History of British Psychology: 1840-1940 (1964) more concise for psychological theories, and Frank Turner's Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England (CH, May'74) more readable on the subject of controversy. Those approaching the present title may wish to use the index to dip into specific data. Recommended for graduate students and specialists. R. E. Wiehe emeritus, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Reviews
Review Quotes
'the author gives us a good insight into the maelstrom of arguments, theories and counter-theories that made up mid-Victorian debate over the future of psychology and helped to bring modern psychological theory and practice into being.'Contemporary Review, March 2001.
'the author gives us a good insight into the maelstrom of arguments,theories and counter-theories that made up mid-Victorian debate over the futureof psychology and helped to bring modern psychological theory and practice intobeing.'Contemporary Review, March 2001.
'the book is at its best in deepening knowledge of the periodical literature. Other historians have read the main texts, but this study goes much further in embedding them in the critical context in which they were read.'Roger Smith, British Journal for the History of Science, Vol 34
'the book is at its best in deepening knowledge of the periodicalliterature. Other historians have read the main texts, but this study goes muchfurther in embedding them in the critical context in which they were read.'Roger Smith, British Journal for the History of Science, Vol 34
Introduction I Generalities: A discrimination of types of psychological theory The discourse of the soul The discourse of philosophy The discourse of physiology in general biology The discourse of medicine II Particulars: Three writers in their times and contexts Alexander Bain and the new psychology of the higher faculties Herbert Spencer and the beginnings of evolutionary psychology G. H. Lewes: History, mind, and language Bibliography Index
'the book is at its best in deepening knowledge of the periodical literature. Other historians have read the main texts, but this study goes much further in embedding them in the critical context in which they were read.'Roger Smith, British Journal for the History of Science, Vol 34'the author gives us a good insight into the maelstrom of arguments, theories and counter-theories that made up mid-Victorian debate over the future of psychology and helped to bring modern psychological theory and practice into being.'Contemporary Review, March 2001.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This examination of psychological theory as it appeared to the Victorians, traces the social and intellectual forces in play in its formation. It also relates these 19th-century ideas to 20th-century developments in psychological investigation.
Long Description
This book offers a history of the interdisciplinary development of Victorian psychology alongside detailed studies of three leading writers: Alexander Bain, Herbert Spencer, and G. H. Lewes. Examining work in several different fields, including evolutionary theory, philosophy, literature, and the bio-medical sciences, it sets the development of psychology in the context of the social and intellectual pressures of the time. The book includes detailed analyses of the work of George Eliot, whose writing is saturated with ideas developed alongside those of the great psychologists who formed her circle.
Long Description
Victorian psychology was fiercely controversial and contested by parties representing the whole span of nineteenth-century opinion. It developed from a theory of the soul to one which understood the human mind as a part of the natural world. In its most advanced forms it embraced new evolutionary ideas, and was considered by its opponents to be a bastard child of materialism. But this was a genuinely interdisciplinary field, and bio-medical scientists, philosophers, novelists, poets, theologians, social commentators, and doctors fought for the ascendancy of their ideas. The emerging discipline reveals the turbulence of Victorian cultural debate, for psychology carried the weight of the periods concerns and articulated some of its most advanced thinking. This book examines psychological theory as it appeared to the Victorians themselves, tracing the social and intellectual forces in play in its formation; it also relates these nineteenth-century ideas to twentieth-century developments in psychological investigation. Part One outlines the general debate. Part Two concentrates on three central figures: Alexander Bain, Herbert Spencer, and G. H. Lewes. It assesses their contributions in the context of the public debates which shaped their work. This is the first detailed study of the development of a mature body of complex interdisciplinary theory often neglected by modern commentators. It also provides one of the first thorough examinations of the work of G. H. Lewes, which has been greatly underestimated. Distinctive features of this study include its cross-referral between work in different disciplines, and a series of analyses of the work of George Eliot, whose writing is saturated with ideas developed alongside those of the great psychologists who formed her circle.
Main Description
Victorian psychology was fiercely controversial and contested by parties representing the whole span of nineteenth-century opinion. It developed from a theory of the soul to one which understood the human mind as a part of the natural world. In its most advanced forms it embraced newevolutionary ideas, and was considered by its opponents to be a bastard child of materialism. But this was a genuinely interdisciplinary field, and bio-medical scientists, philosophers, novelists, poets, theologians, social commentators, and doctors fought for the ascendancy of their ideas. Theemerging discipline reveals the turbulence of Victorian cultural debate, for psychology carried the weight of the periods concerns and articulated some of its most advanced thinking. This book examines psychological theory as it appeared to the Victorians themselves, tracing the social and intellectual forces in play in its formation; it also relates these nineteenth-century ideas to twentieth-century developments in psychological investigation. Part One outlines the generaldebate. Part Two concentrates on three central figures: Alexander Bain, Herbert Spencer, and G. H. Lewes. It assesses their contributions in the context of the public debates which shaped their work. This is the first detailed study of the development of a mature body of complex interdisciplinarytheory often neglected by modern commentators. It also provides one of the first thorough examinations of the work of G. H. Lewes, which has been greatly underestimated. Distinctive features of this study include its cross-referral between work in different disciplines, and a series of analyses of the work of George Eliot, whose writing is saturated with ideas developed alongside those of the great psychologists who formed her circle.
Table of Contents
Introduction
Generalities: A discrimination of types of psychological theory
The discourse of the soul
The discourse of philosophy
The discourse of physiology in general biology
The discourse of medicine
Particulars: Three writers in their times and contexts
Alexander Bain and the new psychology of the higher faculties
Herbert Spencer and the beginnings of evolutionary psychology
G. H. Lewes: History, mind, and language
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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