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Science, Form, and the Problem of Induction in British Romanticism

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108418942

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About the Authors
  • Exploring a topic at the intersection of science, philosophy and literature in the late eighteenth century Dahlia Porter traces the history of induction as a writerly practice - as a procedure for manipulating textual evidence by selective quotation - from its roots in Francis Bacon's experimental philosophy to its pervasiveness across Enlightenment moral philosophy, aesthetics, literary criticism, and literature itself. Porter brings this history to bear on an omnipresent feature of Romantic-era literature, its mixtures of verse and prose. Combining analyses of printed books and manuscripts with recent scholarship in the history of science, she elucidates the compositional practices and formal dilemmas of Erasmus Darwin, Robert Southey, Charlotte Smith, Maria Edgeworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In doing so she re-examines the relationship between Romantic literature and eighteenth-century empiricist science, philosophy, and forms of art and explores how Romantic writers engaged with the ideas of Enlightenment empiricism in their work.

    • Explores how and why authors of Romantic-era literature adopted compositional practices from experimental science
    • Delivers a new perspective on a long-standing area of inquiry by reconsidering the importance of Enlightenment empiricism to Romantic period literature
    • Investigates the connection between contemporary concerns about digital media and early nineteenth-century debates about mass print
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108418942
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Romanticism's composite orders
    1. Knowledge, text, mind: a history of inductive method
    Part I. Making Texts: The Annotated Poem:
    2. Erasmus Darwin's prose of the world: induction and the philosophical poem
    3. Poetics of the commonplace: Robert Southey's analogical romance
    The First Landing Place: Prose Notes and Embedded Verse
    Part II. Making Minds: Poetry in Prose:
    4. Methodizing the mind: experimental education and the poetic excerpt
    5. Coleridge and literary criticism: the pains of induction
    Final Landing Place: The Composite Incarnate.

  • Author

    Dahlia Porter, University of Glasgow
    Dahlia Porter is Lecturer in English Literature and Material Culture at the University of Glasgow. Her articles on literature, science, medicine, and visual art appear in Representations, Romanticism, and The Eighteenth-Century: Theory and Interpretation and in essay collections on Samuel Johnson, Charlotte Smith, and The Afterlives of Eighteenth-Century Fiction. She co-edited Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads, 1798 and 1800 (2008) with Michael Gamer, and is a member of the Multigraph Collective, a group of 22 scholars who co-wrote Interacting with Print: Elements of Reading in the Era of Print Saturation (2018).

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