By Henry Staten
This booklet explains how, less than the impression of the recent 'mental materialism' that held sway in mid-Victorian medical and clinical idea, the Brontës and George Eliot of their maximum novels broached a thorough new type of novelistic ethical psychology. This used to be one not certain via the idealizing presuppositions of conventional Christian ethical ideology, and, as Henry Staten argues, is heavily on the topic of Nietzsche's physiological conception of will to energy (itself without delay inspired through Herbert Spencer). in this analyzing, Staten indicates, the Brontës and George Eliot take part, with Flaubert, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche, within the beginnings of the modernist flip towards a strictly naturalistic ethical psychology, one who is 'non-moral' or 'post-moral'.
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Extra resources for Spirit Becomes Matter: The Brontes, George Eliot, Nietzsche (Edinburgh Critical Studies in Victorian Culture)
In between these two moments, the novel works through a complex exploration of the psychology of domination, an exploration that links aggression and forgiveness via the problematic of the gift. 6 The concept of forgiveness was thus well rendered by the translators of the Vulgate, who translated the Greek aphiemi, which in its root sense means ‘to send away’, as per-donare, ‘to give thoroughly or completely’. This sense was strictly preserved by the English translation of the Latin as for-give, which has the same literal meaning as perdonare.
The notion of ideological ‘intoning’ at the pre-verbal level is derived from V. I. Volosinov, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, trans. Ladislav Matejka and I. R. Titunik (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), p. 87. 38. So according to Barbara Bodichon, in a letter to Bessie Rain Parks quoted by Gillian Beer in George Eliot (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), pp. 181–2. 39. F. W. H. Myers, ‘George Eliot’, in Essays: Modern (London: Macmillan, 1921), p. 269. 40. . ’ Critique of Practical Reason, ed.
5. Herbert Spencer, Social Statics (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1883), ch. 30, sec. 12. 6. Adrian Desmond, The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989). 7. Rick Rylance, Victorian Psychology and British Culture, 1850–1880 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 232. 8. Alan Richardson, British Romanticism and the Science of Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). As Richardson notes, however, the major mental materialists in this period, such as Hartley and Erasmus Darwin, remained dualists who did not question the ultimately supernatural nature of mind.