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Tact – Aesthetic Liberalism and the Essay Form in Nineteenth-Century Britain - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Tact: Aesthetic Liberalism and the Essay Form in Nineteenth-Century Britain

David Russell


The social practice of tact was an invention of the nineteenth century, a period when Britain was witnessing unprecedented urbanization, industrialization, and population growth. In an era when more and more people lived more closely than ever before with people they knew less and less about, tact was a new mode of feeling one's way with others in complex modern conditions. This book traces how the essay genre came to exemplify this sensuous new ethic and aesthetic. It argues that the essay form provided the resources for the performance of tact in this period and analyzes its techniques in th ... More

Keywords: tact, Charles Lamb, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, George Eliot, Walter Pater, politeness, D. W. Winnicott, Marion Milner

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780691196923
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691196923.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Russell, author
Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford