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Associationism and the Literary Imagination

From the Phantasmal Chaos

Cairns Craig


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.

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Table of Contents:
Introduction: A Chain of Associations
1 'Kant has not answered Hume': Hume, Coleridge and the Romantic Imagination
2 Signs of Mind and the Return of the Native: Wordsworth to Yeats
3 Strange Attractors and the Conversible World: Hume, Sterne, Dickens
4 The Mythic Method and the Foundations of Modern Literary Criticism
5 Chaos and Conversation: Pater, Joyce, Woolf
6 The Lyrical Epic and the Singularity of Literature

About the Author

Cairns Craig is Director of the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen. His books include Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry (1982), Out of History (1996), The Modern Scottish Novel (1999), Associationism and the Literary Imagination (2007). He was general editor of the four-volume History of Scottish Literature (1987-9) and has been on the editorial boards of Cencrastus, Radical Scotland, Edinburgh Review and the Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies.