Thesis ID: CBB749957595

Dreams in Romantic Science and Literature (2022)


Mitchell, Micky R. (Author)
Stephen A. Tedeschi (Advisor)

Stephen A. Tedeschi
The University of Alabama
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 187

Romantic-era discourses on dreams often concern methodology, or how an individual processes knowledge and experience. As the debate rages in Romantic science between rational deduction and empirical induction, creative authors seize on the disunity. Both the deductive and the inductive methodologies of Romantic science relegate dreams to unscientific thought, and Romantic poets and novelists harness the ambiguity of dreams in scientific discourses to question the methodological approaches on which the scientific community is built. Dreams emerge as a Romantic epistemological problem in the Scottish Enlightenment. Romantic literary scholars interested in dreams neglect the debate between David Hume and Andrew Baxter concerning the immateriality of the soul, a debate that may have cost Hume the chair of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University. Baxter argues against Hume’s skeptical and empirical philosophy of mind and articulates a rationally argued metaphysics favoring the existence of an immaterial soul. Baxter builds his metaphysics on the inertness of matter and Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, and his work articulates a dream theory in which disembodied spirits cause dreams through a supernatural interaction with human physiology in which they activate the senses immaterially. The debate between Hume and Baxter occurs as the concepts of vitality emerge in Scottish physiology that instigate the debates on dreams in Romantic medicine. Scottish physiologists first incorporate the concept of the immaterial soul into scientific discourse through the concept of vitality, the study of the unverifiable principle or power that creates and sustains life. This concept of vitality and the resonance of dreams in early physiological discourses structure the medical concepts driving the Romantic vitality debates. This dissertation reconstructs those cultural discourses through close-readings of both scientific texts and literary dreams in the works of various Romantic authors and artists: including Ann Radcliffe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Erasmus Darwin, Henry Fuseli, James Beattie, William Lawrence, John Abernethy, Percy Bysshe Shelley, James Curry, and John Keats. These authors consider whether these dreams and nightmares originate from spirits, the body, or the imagination, and literary authors utilize an aesthetic of dreaming to interrogate the methodologies and the epistemology of the emerging sciences.

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Book Richardson, Alan; (2001)
British Romanticism and the science of the mind (/p/isis/citation/CBB000100059/) unapi

Article Cornejo, Carlos; (2015)
Searching for the Microcosm: A Glimpse into the Roots of Vygotsky's Holism (/p/isis/citation/CBB001551417/) unapi

Thesis Johnson, Jeffrey C.; (2012)
Anatomies of the Soul and the Self, From Galen to Romanticism (/p/isis/citation/CBB001560970/) unapi

Article Stephanie L. Schatz; (2015)
Lewis Carroll’s Dream-child and Victorian Child Psychopathology (/p/isis/citation/CBB058347482/) unapi

Book Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Giordano Ghirelli; (2024)
Teoria della vita (/p/isis/citation/CBB719947414/) unapi

Article Calloway B. Scott; (2023)
The Body, Experience, and the History of Dream-Science in Artemidorus’ Oneirocritica (/p/isis/citation/CBB907934889/) unapi

Thesis Yanan Qizhi; (2020)
Dream Culture in Early Modern Lutheranism, 1530-1730 (/p/isis/citation/CBB358204226/) unapi

Thesis Malane, Rachel Ann; (2004)
“Sex in Mind”: The Gendered Brain in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Mental Sciences (/p/isis/citation/CBB001562029/) unapi

Thesis Kamerbeek, Christopher; (2010)
The Ghost and the Corpse: Figuring the Mind/Brain Complex at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (/p/isis/citation/CBB001567186/) unapi

Article Joshua Bauchner; (2021)
Fechner on a Walk: Everyday Investigations of the Mind-Body Relationship (/p/isis/citation/CBB085736438/) unapi

Book Carmela Morabito; (2020)
Il motore della mente. Il movimento nella storia delle scienze cognitive (/p/isis/citation/CBB028669021/) unapi

Article Carluccio, Dana; (2013)
The Cognitive Fictions and Functions of Gender in Evolutionary Psychology and Poststructuralist Theory (/p/isis/citation/CBB001200846/) unapi

Article Sobol, Valeria; (2006)
Nerves, Brain, or Heart? The Physiology of Emotions and the Mind-Body Problem in Russian Sentimentalism (/p/isis/citation/CBB000660083/) unapi

Article Christopher Fowles; (2020)
The Heart of Flesh: Nietzsche on Affects and the Interpretation of the Body (/p/isis/citation/CBB463078060/) unapi

Article Sha, Richard C.; (2009)
Toward a Physiology of the Romantic Imagination (/p/isis/citation/CBB001023598/) unapi

Book Drew Daniel; (2013)
The Melancholy Assemblage: Affect and Epistemology in the English Renaissance (/p/isis/citation/CBB085571657/) unapi

Thesis Hoefer, Bernadette; (2005)
“I feel, therefore I am”: Psychosomatic Manifestations in Seventeenth-Century French Literature (/p/isis/citation/CBB001560856/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Carluccio, Dana
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
Hoefer, Bernadette
Johnson, Jeffrey C.
Malane, Rachel Ann
Montuori, Alfonso
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
History of the Human Sciences
Journal of the History of Ideas
University of Minnesota
Rutgers University
University of Washington
Cambridge University Press
Fordham University Press
Mind and body
Science and literature
Spinoza, Baruch
Bellamy, Edward
Brooks, William Keith
Carroll, Lewis
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
Time Periods
19th century
17th century
18th century
16th century
20th century, early
Great Britain
Soviet Union

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment