This project (107-2410-H-003-019) sought to research the relationship between the author Samuel Butler (1835-1902) and the late Victorian philosophical movement called British Idealism. Thanks to the generous support of MOST, I was able to fulfill the principal goals of this project: to present a paper at an international conference, and to publish an essay in an A&HCI journal. Following the schedule outlined in my proposal, I spent the fall of 2018 conducting research, using the funds provided to purchase books, articles, and online texts related to the project. I was able to write up the preliminary results of my research in a paper entitled “Idealism, Teleology, and Samuel Butler.” I presented this paper at the annual Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States (VISAWUS) conference, held November 8 and 9, 2018, in Palm Springs, California. The conference provided me with valuable feedback that I was able to use to revise my paper, and it introduced me to some scholars who are writing on similar topics. In the days leading up to the conference (November 5 and 6), I was also able to visit the Hoose Library of Philosophy in Los Angeles, California, which is a part of the University of Southern California. Here I was able to conduct further research, since this library has a vast collection of books with a focus on the Western philosophical tradition. After returning from the trip to California, I spent the next several months writing and revising an essay for publication in a top journal. I finally submitted an essay entitled “Idealist Fictions: Crossing F. H. Bradley and Samuel Butler” to Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, which is an A&HCI-listed journal. I received my notice of acceptance on July 23, 2019. In this essay, I examine the ontological arguments of British Idealist F. H. Bradley and Samuel Butler, showing how idealism and fiction are intertwined in their writings, creating a cross-genre, hybrid style that I refer to as “idealist fiction.” By focusing on the ways in which both Bradley and Butler radically disintegrate human subjectivity by extending it into its vibrant, agential natural surrounds, I contend that Victorian idealist fictions offer powerful ethical and aesthetic concepts that can broaden our understanding of Victorian culture, shedding light on the development of the novel in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The essay is of interest to scholars of Victorian literature and culture and interdisciplinary studies in philosophy and literature. Ultimately, this project was a success. I was able to achieve the main goals of the project on schedule, and the research that I conducted has spurred me to continue this line of thought in future projects. I am very grateful to MOST for seeing the value of this project and supporting it.
|Effective start/end date||2018/08/01 → 2019/07/31|
- British Idealism
- F. H. Bradley
- Samuel Butler
- philosophy and literature
- Victorian literature and culture
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