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Romantic Poets, Natural Philosophers, and Early Explorations of the Embodied Mind (Review Article)

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Alan Richardson’s British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind charts the cross- fertilization of ideas and models concerning brain-based psychology that occurred between the domains of literature and science in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In this exciting book, Richardson deftly interweaves history of science founded on the primary writings of and historical records concerning important natural philosophers (the term ‘scientist’ would not be coined until the 1840s) of the period; cultural history founded on reviews and commentary in major journals of the time; comparative science founded on broad and intelligent engagement with contemporary scientists and philosophers of mind; and literary criticism founded on a broad awareness of scientific and cultural trends. The interweaving illustrates, and is fueled by, the spirit of cross-fertilization between the domains of science and literature that was still very much alive in the early 1800s. And Richardson’s work suggests, even as it argues convincingly with its own considerable successes, that we would do well to engage more fully in such cross- fertilization in the early twenty-first century.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Western New England College, Box 5249, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119, USA., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2004


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