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Tennyson and the Embodied Mind

Tate, GP (2009) Tennyson and the Embodied Mind Victorian Poetry, 47 (1). pp. 61-80.

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This essay argues that Alfred Tennyson, in the poems that he wrote around the time of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam’s death in 1833, examines the competing claims of physical and metaphysical accounts of the human mind. While the psychological dialogue ‘The Two Voices’, and the dramatic monologues ‘St Simeon Stylites’, ‘Tithon’, and ‘Ulysses’, seek to affirm belief in an immortal spiritual element of personal identity, their focus is persistently drawn to the representation of a mutable and embodied mind that is shaped by physiology and physical experience. Drawing on Hallam’s own writings about the mind, and on the associationist philosophy of David Hartley, Tennyson’s poems present an account of embodied psychology that went on to influence physiological psychologists in the Victorian era.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages > English
Authors :
Tate, GP
Date : 2009
DOI : 10.1353/vp.0.0051
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as Tate GP (2009). Tennyson and the Embodied Mind. Victorian Poetry 47(1):61-80. Available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 04 Jul 2012 16:43
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:38

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