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LYTTLETON S. FORBES WINSLOW, M.B. D.C.L.
Art. I.-PSYCHOLOGY IN OUR POETS.
It may appear paradoxical to collect illustrations of psychology from the poets, or the novelists, who may be legitimately regarded as prose-poets. But such authors are either of original native genius or of cultivated faculties and taste, and whether reproducing from their own consciousness, or from observation, the shadows as well as the sunshine which enlivens the human mind, could not fail to represent those conditions which give a prominence and character to individuals, whether these depend upon strength or weakness, health or disease. It may be even suggested that the very constitution of the intellect and emotions of writers of fiction, especially when imagination or fancy predominates, may possess intuitively a special power of penetrating into the errors, extravagancies, and exaltation which distinguish erratic, excited, or perverted natures. In a critical examination of the works of many of those who, through the supremacy of a strong and natural ideality have analysed the workings and wanderings of a morbid ideality, it becomes palpable that they have even learned to trace the prodromes or early indications of insanity, and have depicted the first stages of an unhinged or tottering intellect with a suspicion, if not the conviction, that they are dealing with what is abnormal rather than anomalous, which is unnatural rather than consistent. But where delineations of dipsomania, and such are now very numerous, and of senile dementia have been attempted, uncertain and equivocal opinions have been advanced. Many of these word-painters regard the first as habitual drunkenness, as a vice, as a moral rather than a morbid indication, as susceptible of cure or alleviation by the same process as is applied to evil passions and propensities;
PART 1. VOL. VII. NEW SERIES,