Associationism and the Literary Imagination traces the influence of empirical philosophy and associationist psychology on theories of literary creativity and on the experience of reading literature. It runs from David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature in 1739 to the works of major literary critics of the twentieth century, such as I.A. Richards, W.K. Wimsatt and Northrop Frye. Cairns Craig explores the ways in which associationist conceptions of literature gave rise to some of the key transformations in British writing between the romantic and modernist periods. In particular, he analyses the ways in which authors' conceptions of the form of their readers' aesthetic experience led to radical developments in literary style, from the fragmentary narrative of Sterne's Tristram Shandy in 1760 to Virginia Woolf's experiments in the rendering of characters' consciousness in the 1920s; and from Wordsworth's poetic use of autobiography to J.G. Frazer's exploration of a mythic unconscious in The Golden Bough.
Associationism and the Literary Imagination
Edinburgh University Press
From the Phantasmal Chaos
Education & Reference