Embodied: Victorian Literature and the Senses

University of Minnesota Press, 2008

What does it mean to be human? British writers in the Victorian period found a surprising answer to this question. What is human, they discovered, is nothing more or less than the human body itself. In literature of the period, as well as in scientific writing and journalism, the notion of an interior human essence came to be identified with the material existence. The organs of sensory perception were understood as routes of exchange between the interior and the external worlds.