British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind

Alan Richardson (Author) Richardson Alan (Author)
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In this provocative and original study, Alan Richardson examines an entire range of intellectual, cultural, and ideological points of contact between British Romantic literary writing and the pioneering brain science of the time. Poets such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats, and novelists such as Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, are shown to have shared a surprising extent of common ground with pioneering brain scientists including Erasmus Darwin and F. J. Gall. It demonstrates the value for literary and cultural history of learning from recent work in neuroscience and cognitive science.

Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
September 29, 2005
6.0 X 0.61 X 9.0 inches | 0.87 pounds

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About the Author

Alan Richardson is Professor of English at Boston College.


"Alan Richardson has written a serious, speculative, and provocative book on a very large subject." European Romantic Review
"Richardsonas treatment of a hitherto neglected phase of cultural history should prove of interest to specialists in Romanticism at the graduate level and above." Choice
"[An] important book [that] remains valuable for its literary readings and its tour d'horizon of the materialist tradition in romantic medicine." Neil Vickers, University College, London, Studies in Romanticism
"The book is richly illustrated with nineteenth-century engravings of the anatomy of the brain and nervous system and contains extensive notes and bibliographic citations. It is as readable and exciting as it is careful, thought provoking and intelligent." Isis
"British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind promises to become a foundation text for the emerging Romanticist subdiscipline of discourse, culture, and corporeality...The book will be prized for the freshness and sanity of its approach as well as its illuminating and rigorous critical engagement with received opinion." Nineteenth-Century Literature
"Alan Richardson's foray into the relationship between the `brain science' and literature of the Romantic period is a welcome contribution to the recent wave of writings on Romantic medicine and literature." Bulletin of the History of Medicine
"In his latest book, Richardson has begun research that will keep scholars busy for years to come. He has also offered literary interpretations that will change the way we think about words like `brain, ' `mind, ' `sensation, ' and `thought' when we read them in Romantic and post-Romantic texts. His argument is clear, his evidence convincing, his writing graceful and compelling. In short, Richardson has made an extremely important contribution to Romantic studies." The Wordsworth Circle