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Empathy and the Psychology of Literary Modernism$
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Meghan Marie Hammond

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748690985

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748690985.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

The Problem of Other Minds and the Fin de Siècle World

The Problem of Other Minds and the Fin de Siècle World

(p.1) Introduction The Problem of Other Minds and the Fin de Siècle World
Empathy and the Psychology of Literary Modernism

Meghan Marie Hammond

Edinburgh University Press

The introductory chapter, “The Problem of Other Minds and the Fin de Siècle World,” sketches the conceptual development of fellow feeling in the years just before literary modernism emerged. In the process of defining “empathy” and explaining its coinage in 1909, this chapter tackles the difficult relationship between empathy and the related concept of sympathy. Of major importance here is the longstanding nineteenth-century understanding of sympathy as a solution to the philosophical “problem of other minds.” Equally important is the rise of the new experimental and empiricist psychologies in the late nineteenth century. After a brief survey of recent work on fellow feeling in literary studies, this chapter asserts that literary modernism’s engagement with the problem of other minds is a continuation of a long-recognized nineteenth-century literary tradition. Nevertheless, modernism enacts a crucial shift from sympathetic representation to empathic representation.

Keywords:   empathy, sympathy, modernism, realism, experimental psychology, empiricist psychology

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