Introduction: Romantic-Era Psychologist-Poets and the Historical Con- text of Early British Psychology
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Quite aside from Bakewell’s nal reference to madness as the scale by which he judges the soundness of the theory in question, he makes reference to his profession as an asylum owner and psychologist in the most powerful way at the poem’s commencement. e rst method that Bakewell (who I assume is identi able with the speaker here, given their mutual interest in psychology) uses to carry out his psychological research is poetic: he tries to distract himself from his bodily pain through verse. Although the test fails and leaves him only ‘groan[ing]’ rhythmically, it is notable that he turns to poetry rst to carry out his psychological experiment. In this poem, Bakewell expresses succinctly what almost all of the other psychologist-poets show in various ways: poetry is a valuable tool for psychology. At a point in history when psychology was only beginning to be de ned as a discipline, Bakewell and many other psychologists (I will examine eleven in total here) chose verse as a means of disseminating knowledge about their eld, delivering psychological therapy, or guiding the reader in accordance with psychological principles.