New Issue of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century

19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century

Volume 19 (2014)
The Victorian Tactile Imagination

Whilst the art historian Bernard Berenson introduced his theory of the ‘tactile imagination’ in the late 1890s, the articles gathered here point to its flourishing much earlier in the nineteenth century. Contributors chart how reconceptualization of the touch sense in scientific and psychophysiological discourses made it a particularly important mode through which to question the distinction between mind and body, and explore issues of agency and will, and the nature of the real. A range of Victorian tactile episodes and practices are given new emphasis and attention here, including the merging of tree and human in Thomas Hardy’s fiction; the figure of the fidget; the haptic turn in mountaineering; the hand in literature; the disturbing power of touch in dreamscapes; and the search for authenticity in sculpture. Special forum sections extend the reach of the Victorian tactile imagination by considering how cultural and educational commentators disciplined blind people’s touch, and the importance of accounting for touch, as well as vision, in our interpretation of object culture.

Introduction: The Victorian Tactile Imagination Heather Tilley

Arborealities: The Tactile Ecology of Hardy’s Woodlanders William A. Cohen

Kinaesthesia and Touching Reality Roger Smith

The Haptic Sublime and the ‘cold stony reality’ of Mountaineering Alan McNee

[E]motion in the Nineteenth Century: A Culture of Fidgets Karen Chase

The Will to Touch: David Copperfield’s Hand Pamela K. Gilbert

Dream Touch Gillian Beer

Nineteenth-Century Sculpture and the Imprint of Authenticity Angela Dunstan

Blindness Forum:

Models for the Blind Jan Eric Olsén

Blindness, Prick Writing, and Canonical Waste Paper: Reimagining Dickens in Harriet and Letitia Lillian Nayder

Between the Sheets: Contagion, Touch, and Text Vanessa Warne


Photographs, Mounts, and the Tactile Archive Elizabeth Edwards

Connecting the Senses: Natural History and the British Museum in the Stereoscopic Magazine Kathleen Davidson

Charles Dickens and the Cat Paw Letter Opener Jenny Pyke


‘Seeing Touch Anew’: Clothing, Gender, and ‘The Victorian Tactile Imagination’ Kara Tennant

Feeling Critically: A Report on ‘The Victorian Tactile Imagination’ Conference Claire Wood

Sensory History and Sociology — Offering a Helping Hand? Angela Loxham

 Download the articles online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *