By Jill M. Kress

ISBN-10: 0415939798

ISBN-13: 9780415939799

Via research of metaphors of attention within the philosophy and fiction of William James, Henry James and Edith Wharton, this paintings lines the importance of representations of information, gender and social classification, revealing how writers conceived of the self in sleek literature.

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Extra resources for The Figure of Consciousness: William James, Henry James and Edith Wharton (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory)

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3' As if meticulously knitting together the strands of his argument through these figurative remnants, Spencer subsequently creates a magnificent image of the "fabric of Mind": And now, haying roughly sketched the composition of Mind-haying, t o preserve clearness of outline, omitted details and passed oyer minor qualifications; let me go on to indicate the essential truth which it is a chief purpose of this chapter to bring into view-the truth that the method of composition remains the same throughout the entire fab- Copyright 2002 by Routledge The Figure of Consciousness ric of Mind, from the formation of its simplest feelings up t o the formation of those immense and complex aggre ates 56 of feeling which characterize its highest de~elopments.

Immeasurable, however, are the consequences of their metaphors. As we have seen, Lewes uses metaphor to build a framework for identity by suggesting the notion of a center; though Lewes maneuvers this "center" regularly, he paradoxically establishes its rootedness in the self through references to a core, gestures toward inwardness, and the assemblage of figurative chambers and houses for our interiors. Spencer pays more attention to relations; rather than a framework, he invests his theory with images of networks.

While James initially and explicitly designates these words as "metaphors," he effectively reclaims them in order to give a name and an image to consciousness. Metaphors that merely "describe" consciousness, suddenly become means of creating it. James effects this transformation partly because he must give imaginative substance to the insubstantial region of thought, mind, and feeling in order to make clear what he is studying. g A "stream" and a "chain" have different characteristics and, therefore, produce differing accounts of consciousness.

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The Figure of Consciousness: William James, Henry James and Edith Wharton (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory) by Jill M. Kress


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