May 2023: Dickens and Victorian Psychology: Introspection, First-Person Narration, and the Mind by Tyson Stolte

May 28 at 1:00-3:00 PM (PDT) | Virtual Event | Registration Required


Photo of Tyson StolteDickens and Victorian Psychology returns Dickens’s fiction to the midst of nineteenth-century debates about the nature of the mind, reading Dickens’s experiments with first-person point of view as part of his larger effort to insist upon a dualist psychology in the face of new physiological theories of consciousness. While psycho-physiology was widely seen by Victorian readers as a materialist threat to belief in our immortality, Dickens’s incorporation into his fiction of the introspection that remained the key methodology for dualist psychologies allowed him to insist upon the irreducibility of consciousness—and the possibility of the mind’s surviving the body. Through a reading of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, however, this talk will also show how psycho-physiologists worked to drain the shared language of Victorian psychology of any meaning beyond the physical, making it ever more difficult to theorize a psychology that transcended the here and now.

Tyson Stolte is an associate professor in the Department of English at New Mexico State University. His book Dickens and Victorian Psychology: Introspection, First-Person Narration, and the Mind was published by Oxford University Press in 2022. He has also published articles on such topics as Dickens, Robert Browning, Edward FitzGerald, Victorian psychology, and nineteenth-century theories of matter and energy. 



The Santa Cruz Pickwick (Book) Club, a branch of the Dickens Fellowship, is a community of local bookworms, students, and teachers who meet monthly to discuss a nineteenth-century novel. The Santa Cruz Public Libraries provide support for the reading group.

Santa Cruz Public Libraries