The physiology of the novel: reading, neural science, and the form of Victorian fiction
How did the Victorians read novels? Nicholas Dames answers that deceptively simple question by revealing a now-forgotten range of nineteenth-century theories of the novel, a range based in a study of human physiology during the act of reading, He demonstrates the ways in which the Victorians thought they read, and uncovers surprising responses to the question of what might have transpired in the minds and bodies of readers of Victorian fiction. His detailed studies of novel critics who were also interested in neurological science, combined with readings of novels by Thackeray, Eliot, Meredith, and Gissing, propose a vision of the Victorian novel-reader as far from the quietly immersed being we now imagine - as instead a reader whose nervous system was addressed, attacked, and soothed by authors newly aware of the neural operations of their public. Rich in unexpected intersections, from the British response to Wagnerian opera to the birth of speed-reading in the late nineteenth century, The Physiology of the Novel did, and still does, to the individual reader, and provides new answers to the question of how novels influenced a culture's way of reading, responding, and feeling.
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Mass Reading and Physiological Novel Theory
Thackeray and Attention
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The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of ...
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absorption acceleration aesthetic Alexander Bain attempt attention audience Bain become British Cambridge century chapter characters claim Clara Clive cognitive consciousness consumption contemporary cultural Dallas Daniel Deronda distraction duration E. S. Dallas effect Egoist elongated Emotions essay experience fact fiction formal fragmented G. H. Lewes George Eliot George Gissing George Meredith Gissing Gissing's Grub Street Gwendolen Huey I. A. Richards Ibid inattention insisted interest James Javal kind Lewes's literary criticism literary form literary theory Literature London Lubbock melody mental mind narrated narrative Newcomes nineteenth-century notion novel-reading novelistic opera organic Pendennis physiological novel theory plot political practice prose Psychology psychophysics Q. D. Leavis R. H. Hutton reader readerly reading Reardon reception repetition reverie Review Richards Richards's sensation serial Sir Willoughby social speed speed-reading temporal form textual Thackeray Thackeray's theorists three-decker three-volume units University Press Vanity Fair Victorian novel Wagner Wagnerian words writing