Poetry as Panacea: Mill on the Moral Rewards of Aesthetic Experience

Journal of Aesthetic Education 47 (2):16-34 (2013)
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In chapter 5 of his Autobiography, John Stuart Mill recounts a crisis in his mental history. The details of Mill’s depression and eventual rehabilitation due to the salutary powers of lyric poetry are well known. But most scholars who have investigated the status of poetry in Mill’s philosophy have overlooked the fact that the story the Autobiography tells about poetry’s contribution to Mill’s spiritual convalescence and moral education raises several interesting interpretive issues and leaves many notable questions unanswered. I begin with an overview of Mill’s psychological case history as presented in the Autobiography. After that I turn my attention to some exegetical difficulties surrounding Mill’s adulation ..



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Bryan Parkhurst
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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