Romantic poets, notably Wordsworth, Blake, Coleridge and Keats, were deeply interested in how perception and sensory experience operate, and in the connections between sense-perception and aesthetic experience. Noel Jackson tracks this preoccupation through the Romantic period and beyond, both in relation to late eighteenth-century human sciences, and in the context of momentous social transformations in the period of the French Revolution. Combining close readings of the poems with interdisciplinary research into the history of the human sciences, Noel Jackson sheds light on Romantic efforts to define how art is experienced in relation to the newly emerging sciences of the mind and shows the continued relevance of these ideas to our own habits of cultural and historical criticism today. This book will be of interest not only to scholars of Romanticism, but also to those interested in the intellectual interrelations between literature and science.
Introduction: lyrical forms and empirical realities: reading Romanticism's 'language of the sense'; Part I. Senses of History: Between the Mind and the World: 1. Powers of suggestion: sensation, revolution, and Romantic aesthetics; 2. The 'sense of history' and the history of the senses: periodizing perception in Wordsworth and Blake; Part II. Senses of Community: Lyric Subjectivity and 'The Culture of the Feelings'; 3. Critical conditions: Coleridge, 'common sense', and the literature of self-experiment; 4. Sense and consensus: Wordsworth, aesthetic culture, and the poet-physician; Part III. The Persistence of the Aesthetic: Afterlives of Romanticism: 5. John Keats and the sense of the future; 6. More than a feeling? Walter Pater, Wilkie Collins, and the legacies of Wordsworthian aesthetics; Select bibliography.