This Invisible Riot of the Mind: Samuel Johnson's Psychological Theory
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992 - 198 pàgines
In This Invisible Riot of the Mind, Gloria Sybil Gross contends that Samuel Johnson was a pioneer in the development of modern psychological thought, challenging the timeworn, stilted typecasting of Samuel Johnson as the pious Christian moralist. Instead, she argues that Johnson was a daring, at times irreverent, explorer of human nature, who strenuously rejected old relics of sanctimony and repressive authority. To make her case, Gross draws on a wide range of materials from Johnson's life and works, as well as from eighteenth-century medical psychology. Throughout, she is scrupulous in analyzing Johnson's psychological thought within the cultural idiom that would have been available to him. At the same time, she employs a classical psychoanalytic approach, that seeks to establish a coherent relationship among Johnson's life, his fantasies, and his creative work.
This reading of Johnson reveals the radical direction of his investigations of mental experience, which put him in clear prospect of the basic premises underlying Freudian psychoanalysis. Gross argues that these premises--the principle of psychological determinism, the view of the mind as dictated by forces in conflict, the concept of the dynamic unconscious, and the submerged power of desire in all human activity--pervade Johnson's writings. Gross demonstrates not only that Johnson can profitably be read in psychoanalytic terms, but that Johnson is a psychological theorist of primary importance.
This original and insightful work will be of interest to students and scholars of English literature, eighteenth-century studies, and literature and psychology.
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No less circumspect in religious matters than in any other , Johnson punctures the flimsy fabric of contrivance and arrives at his verities by palpable experience . “ We cannot make the truth ; it is our business only to find it .
( Works , 14 : 173 , Sermon 16 ) With utmost vigilance , Johnson monitors this mechanism which develops in response to experience and along the lines laid down by its inherent nature . It sets its own aims and moreover works covertly ...
It opposes anticipated success to a selfpunishing pursuit of failure , an archaic moral aim from within , that strives to counteract the positive , triumphant experience . Here in these early essays , the “ fears , " " doubts , ” and ...
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