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Automatism and Creative Acts in the Age of New Psychology

$99.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108428552

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The late nineteenth century saw a re-examination of artistic creativity in response to questions surrounding the relation between human beings and automata. These questions arose from findings in the 'new psychology', physiological research that diminished the primacy of mind and viewed human action as neurological and systemic. Concentrating on British and continental culture from 1870 to 1911, this unique study explores ways in which the idea of automatism helped shape ballet, art photography, literature, and professional writing. Drawing on documents including novels and travel essays, Linda M. Austin finds a link between efforts to establish standards of artistic practice and challenges to the idea of human exceptionalism. Austin presents each artistic discipline as an example of the same process: creation that should be intended, but involving actions that evade mental control. This study considers how late nineteenth-century literature and arts tackled the scientific question, 'Are we automata?'

    • Explores the late nineteenth-century concept of automatism and its impact on the creative arts in light of the 'new psychology'
    • Considers a variety of commonly overlooked art forms including ballet and art photography in relation to automatism
    • Discovers a link between efforts to establish standards of artistic practice and challenges to the idea of human exceptionalism
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108428552
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the nineteenth-century debate over human automatisms
    Part I. Automata-Phobia:
    1. J. S. Mill: genius-automaton
    2. Automatic aesthetics and the shame of tourism
    Part II. Technologies of the Automatic: Process and Movement:
    3. Photography's automatisms
    4. Automatic writing and physiologies of creativity
    5. The automata ballets.

  • Author

    Linda M. Austin, Oklahoma State University
    Linda M. Austin is Professor of English at Oklahoma State University. She has written on the connections between the fine arts, economics, and psychology. She is the author of The Practical Ruskin (1991) and Nostalgia in Transition (2007), as well as articles published in such journals as English Literary History, Studies in Romanticism, Modernism/modernity, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Modern Language Quarterly.

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