By Phyllis Weliver (auth.)
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Extra info for The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture and Nation
The chaplain's observations align with Victorian statistical practices that sought to expose the "hidden" and aspired to objectivity despite often questionable collection practices, 26 and also with Bentham's prejudices against fiction and music. To the rationalist Bentham, imaginative processes created "fictions" rather than truths. As Whale demonstrates, writing designed to "tickle the ear, or dazzle the imagination" 27 created a rhetorical mode that Bentham attacked for its promotion of manner over matter, dangerous sensuality over plain reason.
Indeed, between poetry and truth there is a natural opposition: false morals, fictitious nature. The poet always stands in need of something false. When he pretends to lay his foundations in truth, the ornaments of his superstructures are fictions; his business consists in stimulating our passions, and exciting our prejudices. 33 The fine arts are only useful if people find pleasure in them and because many do not, their utility is limited. " 34 The narrator of Hard Times disagrees with pronouncements such as these, suggesting instead that imagination, feeling and music lead to improvement in industrial communities: Is it possible, I wonder, that there was any analogy between the case of the Coketown population and the case of the little Gradgrinds?
13 Yet despite his cutting opinion of extreme rationality and abstract reasoning, Mill maintained a modified Utilitarian outlook throughout his life, combining logic with an idealism that he found in Coleridge's writings. The ramifications of Benthamite Utilitarianism extend beyond general humanist considerations to embrace aesthetic and spiritual concerns, too. The archenemy of Benthamite thought, Thomas Carlyle, sustained a vehement attack against "the monster UTILITARIA" 14 during his lifetime.
The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture and Nation by Phyllis Weliver (auth.)