University of South Carolina
Dahlia Porter’s illuminating and expansive study argues that visual elements of Romantic era pages reflect and shape the challenge of inductive reasoning. Porter’s book identifies some of Romanticism’s less pristine forms—its generic composites and verse-prose combinations—as foundational to the long-sought reconciliation between assembled details and comprehensive generalities, between empirical data and scientific truths. The “problem of induction” is its inevitable failure to assimilate large collections of data into singular, coherent wholes. This study focuses on manifestations of this failure in the cacophonous, varied, and, in modern editions, frequently simplified pages of Romantic-era poetry. It charts new territory in uniting book history with the study of literary form, Romantic theories of cognition, the history of science, children’s literature, and pedagogical theory.
The book’s first chapter explains the...more