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Victorian Psychology and British Culture 1850–1880$
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Rick Rylance

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122838

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122838.001.0001

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Introduction: Looking round Corners

Introduction: Looking round Corners

(p.5) Introduction: Looking round Corners
Victorian Psychology and British Culture 1850–1880

Rick Rylance

Oxford University Press

A history has to find its object. But Victorian psychology hides round corners and three particularly chunky obstacles obstruct the view. First, there is the change in the modern conception of the discipline of psychology brought about by its rapid professionalization at the end of the nineteenth century. This process had many strands but the main agent was the fundamental reorientation of psychology's methods and outlook created by the new Experimentalism of the 1890s and beyond. Second, there has been the ascendancy of psychoanalysis as the branch of psychology thought most appropriate to cultural analysis in the humanities, which has obscured other lines of development and other kinds of work. Third, there has been the authority of certain versions of cultural and literary modernism that have intervened between the Victorians and people today, in effect withdrawing significant lines of connection between the psychological ideas of both epochs.

Keywords:   Victorian psychology, Experimentalism, professionalization, psychoanalysis, modernism

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