Thesis ID: CBB883556265

Reparative Forms: Poetry and Psychology from the Fin De Siècle to Wwi (2021)


O'Neil, Lindsey (Author)

University of Maryland, College Park
Publication date: 2021
Language: English

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 200

“Reparative Forms: Poetry and Psychology from the Fin de Siècle to WWI” identifies an as yet-unrecognized body of poetry written by women and colonial subjects that shows those authors’ engagements with early psychological writing. The years between the fin de siècle and the First World War saw the rebirth of psychology as a distinct discipline in contrast to its previous life as a vaguely scientific subset of philosophy. Across these decades, psychological discourse first engaged with and then finally overtook philosophy and poetry as the predominant framework for exploring the inner workings of the human mind. In tracing this history and the specific contributions of women’s poetry at the turn of the century, my dissertation actively engages in interdisciplinary work, incorporating the histories of science and medicine, Indigenous studies, and colonial studies. Women and colonial subjects employed the idioms of white male psychologists in order to represent both belonging to and estrangement from national identity. These writings constitute a greater British communal psychology whose characteristics scholarship has yet to account for. While some women and colonial subjects were bold iconoclasts, many more existed in an open-ended negotiation between their alliance to the nation and their alliance to themselves. While none of the texts resolve the conflicts and inconsistencies of poetry steeped in systems of sexism, imperialism, and nationalism, the framework of psychology is an important tool in order to navigate and make sense of the incomplete story of British nationalism. Questions of who can create, join, or destroy communities resonate with our current political and cultural moment. My dissertation traces a historical narrative that helps to make sense of our present moment in which the sovereignty of Britain is being renegotiated. More broadly, the anxiety surrounding the gradual decline of the British Empire and the literary reactions to this decline anticipate our current global political climate, including Euroscepticism, racially charged suspicions of immigrants, an increased emphasis on cultural integration, and a reinvigoration of nationalist rhetoric.

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Authors & Contributors
Bacopoulos-Viau, Alexandra
Beardsworth, Adam
Clark-Evans, Christine
Ford, Natalie Ruth
Frederiksen, Bodil Folke
Heringman, Noah
Canadian Review of American Studies
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Ethics, Place and Environment
History of Psychiatry
History Workshop Journal
Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences
University of South Carolina
Indiana University
Cambridge University Press
Ohio University Press
Oxford University Press
Stair Uladh
Science and literature
Poetry and poetics
National identity
Great Britain, colonies
Bonaparte, Marie
Frost, Robert
Hardy, Thomas
Janet, Pierre
Lowell, Robert
Malinowski, Bronislaw
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
16th century
17th century
20th century
Great Britain
Geological Society of London

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