The Language of the Senses: Sensory-Perceptual Dynamics in by Kerry McSweeney

By Kerry McSweeney

McSweeney discusses the sensory acuity that expert Wordsworth's, Coleridge's, Thoreau's, Whitman's, and Dickinson's most interesting achievements after which, whilst blunted by way of disease or age, contributed to an attenuation in their artistic strength. He offers a "sensory profile" or sensory heritage for every writer and during shut readings exhibits how this profile affected their courting to the exterior global and their powers of symbolic belief. utilizing views gleaned from the poets themselves and an realizing of the physiological flooring of notion, McSweeney establishes a compelling theoretical foundation for his method. In transparent and stylish prose, he reviews the actual foundation for classy plenitude - reminiscent of the sensory manifold of synaesthesia - not just within the Romantic writers pointed out above but in addition in Victorian poets, Hopkins and Tennyson.

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Extra resources for The Language of the Senses: Sensory-Perceptual Dynamics in Wordsworth, Coleridge, Thoreau, Whitman, and Dickinson

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Both presuppose attentive observation of natural phenomena, and in each case it appears as if observation has stimulated reflection. Both bring to mind Thoreau's generalization that it is "as language that all natural objects affect the poet... He sees a flower or other object, and it is beautiful or affecting to him because it is a symbol of his thought, and what he indistinctly feels or perceives is matured in some other organization" (/ v 359). Both figures, however, depend on conceptual transference rather than a single intense perceptual act or the detection of a complementarity between perceiver and perceived.

Other effects detailed by Huxley are also similar to those found in natural mystical experiences, such as the merging of inner and outer, and the suspension of spatial and temporal categories. Durr compares Huxley's "open-eyed psychedelic vision" to literary texts "celebrating the everyday world," arguing that "the similarities between the world of psychedelic vision and the world of imaginative vision are numerous, striking, and of the essence"; that they share "a fundamentally identical power of apprehension, or mode of being" (vii-xii).

My love overfloweth to all. My nephew - and mushrooms. Red cars, red caps, porters, Martin Luther King, Armenians, Jews, Incas, and John O'Hara. Love. Love. Love. Love. Big yellow Chrysanthemums and the sun and pancakes and Disneyland and Vermont and cinnamon and Alexander the Great. The UN and aluminium foil and apple cider and cigars. Clark Gable, Tony Curtis and salamanders, crochet, the aurora borealis and dimples, mustard plasters and even Mayor Wagner. I am just bursting with joy, with love, (qtd in Zaehner Drugs 95) There is also the considerable problem of making qualitative distinctions between fortuitous and self-induced (rather than chemically induced) experiences.

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