Vernon Lee (Violet Paget)



 On this page philosophers, thinkers, and scientists Vernon Lee knew or mentioned in her books.

  • Alfred Adler
    • Alfred Adler

       1870~1937. An Austrian psychologist. He worked with Freud but later he left him and initiated individual psychology. The major book of his is Individual Psychology.
       Vernon Lee feels sympathy for Alder's work. Lee dislikes Freud's psychology on the same reason as Adler's: Freud put too much stress on sexual desire. Colby states that Lee finds herself right from Adler's psychology in terms of the idea of self-consciousness. When Lee feels mentally sick, Alder's ideas gives her comfort. She writes: "What I, at all events, owe to Psychoanalysis and quite especially to Adler. Recognition or suspicion that a large portion of our beliefs originate in our feeling of and about ourselves, but being obscure and not in front (not in relation to the Eye!)." (Colby, Vernon Lee, P.312.)Colby also states that in metal crisis, Lee learns "an illusion of self-importance" from Adler.

  • Alfred William Benn
    •  1843~1915. An English philosopher, historian. He is famous for his study in Greek history. The major works of his are A History of Modern Philosophy (1912) and The Greek Philosophers(1882).
       Vernon Lee met Benn through Eliza Lynn Linton in 1881. She lives near Benn in Italy. She writes: "We had been neighbors in that little valley under Fiesole some fifteen years now, my windows looking on to a field of vines and a reach of reeded stream which belonged to him, once farms but raised by the Florentine tax-gatherer to the dignity of 'civil habitations,' being separated by only a few hundred yards of unfrequented road."(Colby, Vernon Lee, P.295.) Lee and Benn took a walk together, talking about Hegel, Bergson and ancestors' worship. Colby states that Been was a 'genuine humanist' for Lee. (P.295.)
       When Benn died in 1915, Lee wrote the obituary on Nation(October 9) .

  • Henri-Louis Bergson
    • Bergson

       1859~1941. A French philosopher. He wrote books on time and recognition. The major works of his are Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience (1889)、Matière et mémoire (1896)、and L'Évolution créatrice (1907). Bergson's term 'élan vital' means the power to evolve life exponentially. Under the influence of Darwin's theory of evolution, Bergson claims that life evolves not from external power but from internal power of life and he refers to this type of evolution as creative evolution. Besides the work of philosopher, he engaged in the foundation of the League of Nations. He was given the Nobel Prize.

      'Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience

       Bergson claims that in addition to spatial division of time, there is the inseparable stream of consciousness and he calls it "durée (duration)." Furthermore, he sets as an intermediate existence between substance and representation "image."
       Bergson read Vernon Lee's books and valued them highly. The name of Bergson often appears in Lee's books such as Vital Lies. The are common in terms of assuming 'durée' in addition to physical course of time.

  • Hippolyte Taine
    • Taine

       1828~1893. A French philosopher, critic. The major works of his are Histoire de la littérature anglaise(1863) and others.

      Histoire de la littérature anglaise

       Since her young days, Vernon Lee liked reading Taine's books. On Taine's Philosophie de l’Art (1865–1882) she writes on British Quarterly Review in 1878: "The eighteenth century in Italy is not what Taine represents it, misled, doubtless, by the account of a few superficial travellers and disputable memoir-writers. It is almost a kind of minor Renaissance, a very jog-trot one certainly, but none the less distinctly one." (Colby, Vernon Lee, P.23.) Lee pays attention to Italian music in the 18th century Taine didn't deal with.

  • William James
    • william James

       1842~1910. An American psychologist, philosopher and an elder brother of Henry James. Under the influence of Charles Sanders Peirce, he led the movement of pragmatism. So-called 'James- Lange theory' (One cries not because they are sad and one s sad because they cry) is well-known. He advocated the theory of 'stream of consciousness' and gave a lot of influence on James Joyce and other novelists. The major works of his are The Varieties of Religious Experience(1902) and Principles of Psychology(1890). He lectured psychology in American universities for the first time.
       It did not matter for James whether or not it is true: it matters for him whether or not the truth is useful for one. If it is useful for 'I', it is truth for the man. This type of thinking is called pragmatism.

      The Varieties of Religious Experience

       James' psychology gave great influence on Vernon Lee. One of his books, The Principles of Psychology (1890) gave Lee suggestions on the relationship between minds and bodies of human beings. However, Lee's attitudes towards James' psychology are generally critical. In Vital Lies, on the theory of "will to believe," she regards James as 'the most illustrious victim of this intellectual epidemic' and writes 'one of its chief centres of infection, the "Will-to-Believe."' The whole of Vital Lies is used to attack the pragmatism of James. The "will to believe" means the criticism against Descartes' methodology. It means that human beings have the power to believe something, even when there is not sufficient proof.
       Lee also writes an essay titled 'Professor James and the "Will to Believe." According to Vineta Colby, while James thought that 'doctrinal sources' such as idealism, transcendentalism, or religion, are necessary for the health of human beings, Lee doesn't trust them.
       Louis Norbert is Vernon Lee's novel. It is a story where Lady Venetia and a archaeologist research the identity of Louis Norbert in the 17th century. Lady Venetia claims that Louis Norbert is the son of LouisⅩⅣ while the archaeologist criticizes her saying that she "invents" the history. He says: "There is a volume of William James' essays called 'The Will to Believe"―you are that Will in this case." (Louis Norbert, P.176.)
       Because Lee takes the critical attitudes towards him, James kept some distance from Lee and advised his brother Henry to do so.

  • Wilhelm Max Wundt
    • Wilhelm Wundt

       1832~1920. A German psychologist. He is the founder of experiment psychology. Psychology as a field of study was founded through the work of Wundt and it gave a great influence on William James.
       Vernon Lee, who has a strong interest in psychology and tries to connect aesthetics with psychology, reads books by Wundt. She mentions Wundt many times in her books.
       In The Beautiful, Lee considers the "perception of lines" in art. She claims that one sees the line of the present but at the same time imagines the line of the future based on the memory of the past line and such interrelation among the past, the present and the future produces meaning and "shape." She obtains such thinking from Wundt. According to Lee, Wundt put emphasis on 'feelings of tension and relaxation among the elements of form-perception.'

  • Edmund Gurney
    • Edmund Gurney

       1847~1888. An English psychologist and a scholar of occultism. In 1882, he engaged in the foundation of The Society for Psychical Research (SPR). He played an important role in the spread of occultism. He was an acquaint of William James.
       Gurney was an acquaint of Vernon Lee. Lee says on the impression of his she had as follows: "handsome 'but is more like a butler with a dash of guardsman'".(Vineta Colby, Vernon Lee, P.115.)
       Gurney's book The Power of Sound(1880) had a great impact on Vernon Lee and she writes the review on this. She argues Gurney's theory of "the aesthetics of hearing." Colby states that Gurney is the forerunner of Bernard Berenson's aesthetics. (Colby, Vernon Lee, P.167.)
       Lee writes several ghost stories, so it is possible that Gurney's books influenced Lee.

  • Edward Bradford Titchener
    • Edward B. Titchener

       1867~1927. An English psychologist. He studied under the instruction of Wilhelm Wundt and became a professor at Cornell University. The major work of his is Psychology of Thought Processes(1909). Titchener argued with William James on the authenticity of telepathy. Titchener rejected it while James supported it.
       1867~1927. An English psychologist. He studied under the instruction of Wilhelm Wundt and became a professor at Cornell University. The major work of his is Psychology of Thought Processes(1909). On the ability of telepathy, Titchener had an opposed attitude against William James.

      Psychology of Thought Processes

       Vernon Lee tries to incorporate aesthetics into psychology and the key term for that is "empathy." It is the translation of a German word 'Einfuhlung' Theodor Lipps employed. Lee translates this term into 'infeeling' and Edward Titchener coins the term empathy. Afterwards, Lee uses the term empathy. Lee mentions this process in The Beautiful.
       In 'subject and object' in The Beautiful, Lee mentions the fact that Titchener made the word "empathy" and argues it.
       In the entry of empathy in Oxford English Dictionary, the first example of empathy is taken from Vernon Lee's Beauty and Ugliness.

  • Karl Groos
    • Karl Groos

       1861~1946. A German philosopher and psychologist. He asserted
      evolutionary instrumentalism, which refers to the way of thinking that ideas lead actions and they are instruments by which these actions are valued. The major work of his is The Play on Animals, in which he asserts theatrical art is the preparation for later life.
       Groos connects shapes and motions of objects with psychological changes of observers' minds and names it as 'inner mimicry.' Vernon Lee inherits this way of thinking.
       Vernon Lee was influenced by Groos' psychology and met him at Thüringen. From 1902 to 1908, Lee and Groos exchanged letters and discussed the influence of aesthetic experiences on human beings. Lee's Beauty and Ugliness was criticized by Theodor Lipps but Groos valued it favorably.
       In "The Economic Parasitism of Women" in Gospels of Anarchy, Lee values highly Groos' 'Play Instinct.'

  • Karl Heinrich Marx
    • Karl Marx

       1818~1883. A German philosopher and economist. His idea is called Marxism and exerted great influence on the 20th century's politics and philosophy. He asserts that capitalism develops and as the natural result, the age of communism comes. The major works of his are Manifest der Kommunistischen Parte (1848)(Friedrich Engels is the co-author) and Das Kapital(1867).

      Das Kapital

       Vernon Lee admires German culture and possesses Das Kapital. She doesn't join the Fabian Society but has some kind of sympathy towards socialism. However, she takes a negative attitude towards the ideas of Marx. Vineta Colby asserts that Lee dislikes Marxism's "rigid economic determinism."(Colby, Vernon Lee, P.274.) Colby also asserts that Marx, Wagner, and Bismark destroy the idea on Germany Lee had. (P.262.)  
       In 1934, Lee reads Toward Understanding of Karl Marx, an essay critical against Marx by Sidney Hook.

  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
    • Hegel

       1770~1831. A German philosopher. He is the representative philosopher of German idealism and wrote books on religion, history, aesthetics and others. The major works of his are Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte(1838) and Phänomenologie des Geistes(1807).


       Vernon Lee had a strong interest in German philosophy and history and read Hegel's books. In 'Puzzle of the Past' in Hortus Vitae, she tackles the problem that the past and the present can coexist. Her conclusion is that it is impossible. However, according to Hegel's theory of TheseーAntithese-Synthese, they can coexist because they are contradictory.
       Hegel had an idea that the beauty of art is superior to that of nature. This led to aestheticism. Vernon Lee especially in the first part of her career, writes many books on aestheticism and she may be influenced by Hegel.
       Walter Pater's words "all arts aspires to the state of music" is famous gave a strong influence on Lee and according to her this idea drives from Hegel. In 'The Value of the Ideal' in Baldwin, she states that the theory of music of Walter Pater is the repetition of Hegel's 'old music theories.'
       Christa Zorn writes: "Lee generally was critical of Hegel, but followed his philosophy more closely than she would admit." (Christa Zorn, Vernon Lee, P.170.)

  • Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
    • Goldsworthy Dickinson

       1862~1932. A British philosopher, political scholar. He kept company with the members of the Bloomsbury Group.
       When the First World War broke out, Lee and Dickinson knew each other as pacifists. Dickinson engaged in the foundation of the United League and Lee praised such activities of Dickinson's and his book The International Anarchy, 1904-1914 (1926). Vineta Colby asserts that Dickinson was not "declared pacifist" to Lee and sometimes annoyed her. Lee says "he (Dickinson) was 'wrinkled with scruples.'"(Colby, Vernon Lee, P.294.)
       Dickinson also read Lee's books on war and tried to made remarks on war which are different from those of Lee's. He thought that Lee could not contribute to the realization of world peace.

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    • Rousseau

       1712~1778. A French philosopher. He is one of the representative philosopher of Enlightenment. The main idea of his can be summarized into the phrase: Return to nature. The major works of his are Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes (1755)、Du contrat social ( 1762)、Émile, ou De l'éducation (1762)、Les Confessions (autobiography, 1770)、Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse (novel, 1761) and others.


       Vernon Lee often mentions Rousseau. For example, in 'On Novels' Baldwin, an essay in dialogue, Marcel says: 'a diseased soul like Jean-Jacques.' Another character, Mrs. Blake, asserts that modern French literature including Balzac, Flaubert, and Baudelaire comes from Rousseau's Les Confessions. And he asserts: "And as Rousseau, who certainly was not a true Frenchman, has never seemed to be a genuine man either, but a sickly, morbid piece of half-developed precocity; so I cannot admit that the present phase of French literature represents manhood as opposed to the French literature of the past." Furthermore, in 'Of Doubts and Pessimism' in the same book, Baldwin says: "I certainly consider a book like the 'Confession' as a remarkably nasty pathological exhibition."
       In 'In Piedmont' in Genius Loci, Lee tells the impressions she had in Piedmont, Italy, and mentions Rousseau as follows: "Jean Jacques was a very undesirable lackey. The Abbe de Gouvon, as he calls him, was the person, if I remember rightly, who gave him some smattering of mathematics; and presented him with "the Fontaine de Hieron,"the little scientific toy with which he thought to begin his fortune."(Genius Loci, P145.)
       In The Sentimental Traveler, the expression "Rousseau's vanity" can be found.
       In "Rosny and the French Analytical Novel" contained in Gospels of Anarchy, Lee states that Rousseau's Confessions has "subjective truth."
       Rousseau wrote a book entitled Dictionnaire de Musique (1768). This is the one of the earliest book on music and had a great influence on Lee's Music and Its Lovers. In a letter, Lee refers to this book.

  • Jules Michelet
    • Jules Michelet

       1798~1874. A French historian. The major works of his are Histoire de FranceLa Femme (1859)、and La Sorcière (1862).

      La Femme

       Since she was young, Vernon Lee loved reading Michelet's books and was influenced by them. リーは1878年の書簡で、"I have brought a heap of Michelet and Ruskin (rather a contrast) with me." (Complete Letters, Volume 1, P.230.) Peter Gunn asserts that one of the reasons Lee wrote Ariadne in Mantua is the influence of Michelet. According to Gunn, Lee learned romanticism from Michelet. Lee herself writes in Euphorion: ""how much I am indebted to the genius of Michelet; nay, rather, how much I am, however unimportant, the thing made by him, everyone will see and judge."
       Michelet tackles problems of women in some books such as La Femme and that is one of the reasons Lee had an interest in Michelet.

  • George Tyrrell
    • George_Tyrrell

       1861~1909. An Irish minister of the Jesuit. He tried to adapt Jesuit doctrines to the modern ways of thinking. The major works of his are The Church and the Future (1910) and Christianity at the Crossroads (1910).
       Vernon Lee sets a chapter named 'Father Tyrrell: Modernism and the Will to Continue Believing' in 'Applied Pragmatism,' the second part of Vital Lies and argues on the thoughts of Tyrrell. For example, Lee writes: "As regards Protestantism, on the other hand, Father Tyrrell's book (like M. Loisy's famous one) is directed, not so much at freeing Catholicism from scientifically untenable doctrines, as at showing that "Liberal Protestantism," with its substitution of the ethical elements for the sacramental and transcendental ones, so far falls short of being the true embodiment of the Religious Idea." (Vital Lies, Part Ⅱ, PP.171~172.)

  • Joseph Ernest Renan
    • Ernest Renan

       1823~1892. A French historian of religion. His work Vie de Jésus(1863)described Jesus as a human being for the first time, and had a great influence on the later generations. Oscar Wilde wrote that it was one of the most influential book written in the 19th century, together with Darwin's The Origins of Species.

      Vie de Jésus

       Vernon Lee had no faith in any religion but nevertheless, she had a strong interest in Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Vie de Jésus is one of her favorite books. The name of Renan often appears in her books. Peter Gunn asserts that Christian beliefs did not influence Lee's ideas but invoked "sympathy and admiration" in her.
       In Baldwin, Lee refers to the name of Renan as a person who gave the greatest influence on French young people along with Baudelaire. And she asserts that the secret of Renan's pessimism is "sceptical and resigned."
       In Louis Norbert, Lady Venetia says: "I rather liked Ahab in Renan's Peuple d'Israel."

  • John Stuart Mill
    • John Stuart Mill

       1806~1873, An English philosopher. The major works of his are Principles of Political Economy (1848)、On Liberty(1859)and The Subjection of Women (1869).

      The Subjection of Women

       Vernon Lee herself makes many feminist remarks and had a strong interest in Mill's work and mentions the name of Mill in her works. For example, in Baldwin Olivia says 'incarnation of logic and utilitarianism,' mentioning the relationship between Mill and his wife.
       Also in Vital Lies, a book written to criticize pragmatism, Lee mentions Mill many times as a forerunner of pragmatism. In a letter of 1887, Lee mentions Mill's "Political Economy." (Complete Letters Volume 2, P.317.)

  • Daniel Halévy
    • Daniel Halévy

       1872~1962. A French historian, critic. He was a friend of Marcel Proust and other literary persons. At the Dreyfus trial, he supported Dreyfus. The major work of his is Essai sur l'acceleration de l'histoire (1948).
       Vernon Lee and Halévy were friends with each other and had a lot in common in their liberal ideas on society.

  • Charles Sanders Peirce
    • Peirce

       1839~1914. An American philosopher, mathematician, scientist. Some critic asserts that he is the most creative, versatile intellect of America.
       Peirce is regarded as the founder of pragmatism and also founded the metaphysical club. He promoted "abduction," which is the term referring to the process through which hypothesis to explain things is formed. He advocated "fallibilism": truth can be false and it can be renewed through experiences.
       Vernon Lee interprets Peirce as a founder of pragmatism and writes that William James was influenced by Peirce, his college at Harvard University. But Peirce came to be disconted with James' pragmatism and changed the name of idea from pragmatism to pragmaticism. 伝記作者Vineta Colbyもリーはパースらの理論的なプラグマティズムと争うことはしなかったとしている。(Colby, 284)Peirce defines truth as "the opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate."
       Lee's Vital Lies is written to criticize William James' pragmatism: she mentions the name of James in the book and quotes many sentences from Peirce's books. She asserts that pragmatism of James or Schiller is different from that defined by Peirce. She writes: "Mr Peirce makes truth into an intellectual imperative which sooner or later imposes itself (or would impose itself but for human "perversity") on opinion, Messrs James and Schiller constantly (besides con-fusing"Truth" with its objective correlative "Reality") calmly identify truth with belief, and belief with opinion, and they test truth (which is itself belief's and opinion's standard) by the beneficial or agreeable, the useful con-sequences due to holding a given belief or opinion." (Vital Lies, P.28.)
       According to Lee, Peirce's ideas are made by collecting those of John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill and William James and Schiller escaped from them. Lee writes: "The Pragmatism of Mr Peirce is a formula of the "Logic of Science." The Pragmatism of Messrs W. James and Schiller is, so far as it possesses any originality, a method of apologetics, a not always strictly grammatical new Grammar of Assent."(Vital Lies, P.47.)

  • Charles Darwin
    • Darwin

       1809~1882. An English naturalist. He visited Galápagos Islands by HMS Beagle. On the Origin of Species published in 1859 gave great impact on European society and Christian world. His ideas of the theory of evolution shown in the book are negative to the Christian beliefs, so Darwin was criticized by Christians.

      Origin of Species

       Vernon Lee mentions Darwin many times in her books. For example, in 'Of Honour and Evolution' in Baldwin she argues the matter of the development of science and ethics under the influence of the theory of evolution. She seems to believe in the theory. She reads the books of T.H. Huxley, who is called 'Darwin's bulldog' and learns a lot from them. She claims the necessity of the birth of new morality with the development of science.

  • Theodor Lipps
    • Theodor Lipps

       1851~1914. A German psychologist. He had strong interest in art and aesthetics and gave an influence on Freud. The term Einfuhlung (empathy in English) Robert Vischer, a German philosopher, coined was spread by Lipps through his book Raumasthetik(1896). He asserted that beauty gives humans mental power and consoles them.
       Vernon Lee was strongly influenced by the theory of Lipps. However, Lipps criticizes Lee's Beauty and Ugliness, and after that she modifies her opinion on psychology, pointing out the problems in Lipps' theory. Peter Gunn asserts that Lee criticizes 'metaphysical element' in Lipps' theory.
       The first entry of the examples of "empathy" in Oxford English Dictionary is from Lee's Beauty and Ugliness.

  • Thomas Carlyle
    • Carlyle

       1795~1881年。A Scottish historian, philosopher. The representative works of his are Sartor Resartus(1833~34 )、The French Revolution (1837)、Heroes and Hero Worship (1841) and others. Lee read many of Carlyle's books.
       In The Handling of Words, Vernon Lee analyzes the style of Carlyle in the chapter with the name of 'Carlyle and the Present Tense,' comparing Carlyle's use of present tense with those of other writers.
       Carlyle wrote a book Past and Future (1843), which may have influenced Vernon Lee's idea on the past. Lee writes: "The use of the present tense answers, on the contrary, to Carlyle's very personal attitude in what is really the world of contemplation." (P.184.)
       Interests in German culture are common in both Lee and Carlyle.

  • Thomas Henry Huxley
    • Thomas Henry Huxley

       1825~1895. An English biologist. He advocated agnosticism, which means that humans cannot recognize the nature of things. Because he supported Darwin, he was called Darwin's bulldog. He wrote books such as Science and Education and Evolution and Ethics.

      Evolution and Ethics

       Vernon Lee values high the theory of Darwin and read the books of Huxley. Especially his idea on the relationship between scientific development and ethics shown in Evolution and Ethics is common to Lee.

  • Bertrand Russell
    • ラッセル

       1872~1970. An English mathematician, philosopher. When the First World War broke out, he began to act as a pacifist. The major works of his are Principia Mathematica (1910~13)、The Problems of Philosphy (1912) and others. He and Albert Einstein pronounced Russell-Einstein manifesto in 1955 to abolish nuclear weapons.

      Principia Mathematica

       Vernon Lee met Russell for the first time in 1894 at their common friend. The met several times after that, but Russell disliked Lee, though he admitted her intelligence. Russell told Burdet Gardner, who wrote a book on Lee, Lesbian Imagination: ”(Lee was) incredibly ugly, but always able to win the devotion of young girls who were both intelligent and beautiful. This, I suppose, was owing to the brilliancy of her intellect." He called Lee "vampire, a very masterful, dominant person―a bloodsucker."
      On the other hand, Lee liked reading Russell's books. Both of them take anti-war stance and have a lot in common.

  • Herbert Spencer
    • Herbert Spencer

       1820~1903. An English philosopher, sociologist. Under the influence of Darwin's theory of evolution, he advocated social evolution. The major works of his are System of Synthetic Philosophy (1860) and others.
       Though Vernon Lee accepts the theory of evolution by Darwin and Spencer, she keeps kind eyes toward losers of the survival of the fittest and has an idea that evolution must entail the birth of a new ethics. Lee's recognition of the theory found in her short story 'The Lady and the Death' derives from Spencer.


       Spencer played an important role in aesthetics. His Principles of Psychology was widely read and had a great influence. Ian Small summarizes his aesthetics: "The greatest art therefore axiomatically became that which was capable of exercising the greatest variety and volume of pleasurable emotion or sensation in its audience." (Ian Small, Conditions for Criticism, P.71.) Spencer was a forerunner of Lee in that he considered the influence of artistic works on observers' mentality.
       In 'Beauty and Sanity' in Laurus Nobilis, Lee writes: "Whether or not Mr. Herbert Spencer be correct in deducing all artistic activities from our primeval instincts of play, it seems to me certain that these artistic activities have for us adults much the same importance as the play activities have for a child."
       On the other hand, in The Beautiful, Lee's idea is expressed. It is said that Schiller created the philosophical theory in which 'non-practical attitude' combined with the term 'beautiful' is used in order to define art and its pleasure as 'a kind of play' and Hebert Spencer revived it, but Lee denies it.
       In 'Imagination Penetrative' in The Handling of Words, Lee mentions agnosticism of Spencer. (P. 283)

  • Beatrice Webb
    • Beatrice Webb

       1858~1943. An English sociologist, economist. She played an important role in Fabian Society with her husband Sidney Webb. She wrote Women and the Factory Acts (1896) and so on.  
       Vineta Colby asserts that Vernon Lee Sidney Webb had a lot in common in terms of their negative attitudes against the suffragette movement at that time.
       Furthermore, Colby points out that Lee may write The Gospels of Anarchy inspired by Webb's entry in her journal in 1884: "Social questions are the vital questions of today; they have taken the place of religion."

  • Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller
    • F.C.S.Schiller

       1864~1937. An English philosopher. He was born in Germany and studied in Oxford University. He was influenced by the theory of evolution and criticized the Hegelian philosophy. His ideas are similar to pragmatism.
       In Vital Lies, Lee mentions the name of Schiller along with those of Henry James and Perth, regards him as representative pragmatists. She cites many passages from Schiller's book Studies in Humanism and criticizes 'The Will to Believe,' the idea shown in it.

  • Plato
    • Plato

       B.C.427~B.C.347. A philosopher in ancient Greece. He founded the basis of the Western philosophy. He was a disciple of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle. The major works of his are The Apology of Socrates, The Republic, Symposium, Phaedo and others. His theory of ideas has given a great influence on later generations.
       Many of Plato's books take the dialogue-style, which has been influential to the present. Lee also adopts the style in such works as Baldwin, following the tradition since Plato.
       In the 19th century, Plato's Symposium gained attention. It discusses androgyny and Vernon Lee learned a lot from it. In Althea, one of the narrators, Althea, is compared to a young man in Symposium. On it, Christa Zorn writes: "Althea's appearance like "one of the youths in Plato's dialogues"not only links her with the antique model of homoerotic love but also exemplifies the contemporary practice of using the boy image as a sign for lesbian difference." (Zorn, Vernon Lee, P.107.) Zorn points out the similarity between Lee's dialogue on altruism and Plato's dialogues.
       Vernon Lee make many references to Plato in her books. For example, in Laurus Nobilis, she asserts that the philosophy of Plato is the source of "all higher philosophy" in Europe. また、同書で"we human creatures will never know the absolute or the essence, that notions, which Plato took for realities, are more relative conceptions." (P.80.)

  • Frances Power Cobbe
    • F・P・Cobbe

       1822~1904. An Irish writer, social activist. She took part in the campaign for suffragette and to prohibit animal experiments, especially vivisection. Her books on feminism are The Duties of Women and others. She engaged in the foundation of National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) in 1875, and that of British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in 1898. Besides these, she wrote novels such as The Confessions of a Lost Dog(1867). She cohabited with Mary Lloyd, a female sculptor.
       Cobbe read Vernon Lee's ghost stories and loved them. In her autobiography, Life of Frances Power Cobbe, she mentioned the works of Lee: "The ghost of popular belief almost invariably exhibits the survival of Avarice, Revenge, or some other thoroughly earthly passion....The famous story of Miss Lee is one exception to this rule." (Life of Frances Power Cobbe, P.11.)
       Like Cobbe, Lee criticizes harshly vivisection of animals. However, they are different in the ideas on the development of science. Lee takes it affirmatively and asserts the necessity of the birth of new moral while Cobbe takes it negatively. Cobbe's theory against vivisection may be based on blind disbelief in science.
       They exchanges letters. In a letter to Mary Robinson in 1883, Lee writes: "Have (you) seen Miss Cobbes' very unjust but very flattering article about me in the Contemporary? It is so odd, that tone of the deist towards the "good agnostic" as Florence Sellar called me―like the people in the Chanson de Roland, who are always exclaiming."  In another letter to Cobbe, Lee deplores that her novel Miss Brown was not favorably accepted. And in the same letter, she asks Cobbe to introduce her to many people when she would visit London. (Complete Letters, Volume 2, P.27.)In a letter in1879, Lee writes: "...I have been in correspondence lately with your friend Miss Cobbe. She is so kind to make use of me; and I am delighted to be put to use by her." (Complete Letters Volume 1, P.256.)
       Cobbe "married" Mary Lloyd. The lived together. Cobbe was a manly woman: she employed words men like to use and kept her hair short like men and wore clothing for me. In terms of this Cobbe are similar to Cobbe. Sharon Marcus argues Cobbe's sexuality in Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England.
       Cobbe's ideas on marriage is conservative: In The Duties of Women, Cobbe asserts that women should defend family and house staying home, and this is the virtue of the British. ("One word in concluding these remarks on woman's duties as a Hausfrau. If we cannot perform these well, if we are not orderly enough, clear-headed enough, powerful enough, in short, to fulfill this immemorial function of our sex well and thoroughly, it is somewhat foolish of us to press to be allowed to share in the great housekeeping of the State." The Duties of Women, P.151.)

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
    • Nietzsche

       1844~1900. A German philosopher. The major works of his are Also sprach Zarathustra(1885), Zur Genealogie der Moral(1887) and others.
       Nietzsche and Lee have a lot in common: both of them had interests in Wagner. Lee made many references to Nietzsche in her books and writes an essay titled 'Nietzsche and the "Will to Power," which is included in The Gospels of Anarchy.
       Vernon Lee could read German, so it is certain that she read books of Nietzsche. Colby asserts that Lee praises Nietzsche's "the force and of originality of his thinking."(Colby, Vernon Lee, P.279.)

      Die Geburt de Tragodie

       Among his books, his first book Die Geburt der Tragödie (1872) is important for Lee. In it, Nietzsche classifies art into two categories: Apollonian art and Dionysian one, which is succeeded by Lee. That is evident in her Music and Its Lovers. However, while Nietzsche brought Dionysian art into light, Lee asks for Apollonian art. In The Handling of Words, Lee writes that she sees Dionysian art with doubt and aversion.
       In 'Nietzsche and the "Will to Power," Lee criticizes 'The Will to Power' in Nietzsche and writes: 'It is right, therefore, despite Nietzsche, that there should be pity for others.'
       In Laurus Nobilis,Lee writes: "it is not only music, as Nietzsche said, but all art, that is abut a kind of dancing, a definite rhythmic carrying and moving of the soul."

  • Blaise Pascal
    • Pascal

       1623~1662. A French philosopher, methematician. He entered a religious life at the age of 31. His saying ”Man is a reek to think" is very famous. The major works of his are Pensée and others.


       Vernon Lee mentions Pascal in her books such as Laurus Nobilis.("There is a penséeof Pascal's to the effect that a fop carries on his person the evidence of the existence of so many people devoted to his service. This thought may be delightful to a fop; but it is not pleasant to a mind sensitive to beauty and hating the bare thought of ugliness." Laurus Nobilis, P.145.)
       In Vital Lies, Lee writes that William James' understanding of Pascal's 'Wager' is unique.

  • Henry Havelock Ellis
    • Havelock Ellis

       1859~1939. An English physicist, sexologist. His book Studies in the Psychology of Sex(1933 ) is the epoch-making work in this field. He made the concept of narcissism popular among English people and is said to have discovered women's sexual desire.
       It is difficult to assume that Lee likes Ellis who claims women have sexual desire, but he mentioned her name in his book. In Sexual Inversion, which was written together with John Addington Symonds and published in 1897, Ellis argues lesbianism and regarded the relationship between Lee and Mary Robinson as its case history.

  • Max Simon Nordau
    • Max Nordau

       1849~1923. A Hungarian doctor, philosopher. He acted as a leader of Zionism. He published Die Entartung in 1892.In it, he criticized the artists of decadence such as Wagner, Verlaine, Wilde, Nietzsche, and Baudelaire. At the beginning of it, he deplored: "The fin de sièclestate of mind is to-day everywhere to be met" and regarded Paris as the centre of decadence. Also, to criticize Ibsen's The Doll's House, he wrote a novel The Right to Love. Times, an English journal, expressed him as "philosopher of decadence" in his obituary.


       In 'Deterioration of Soul' in Gospels of Anarchy, Vernon Lee shows her understanding on Nordau's theory but at the same time criticizes it. She writes: 'I find that Nordau's book has inspired me with a salutary terror, not merely of Degeneracy (though he is right in teaching us to be afraid of that), but of the deterioration of the soul's faculties and habits, which is the inevitable result of all intellectual injustice.'
       Vernon Lee thought that there is morals under all scientific truths. On the other hand, she criticized the works of Nordau and Lombroso because she thought they had an idea degeneration is attributable to physiological causes. She claimed they should ask for social causes of degeneration and proceeds to argue the relationship between individuals and society. According to Lee, when human beings are separated from society, they become egocentric, but they shouldn't be too aware of healthiness stipulated by society. She writes: 'Our souls are beset by dangerous tendencies, notions, and examples: let every individual, therefore, scrutinize and select among the tendencies and notions of others; scrutinize and select more carefully still among the tendencies and notions he may find in himself.'
       On the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Lee writes: "In the world of art, however, the religious enthusiasm of degenerate and hysterical Englishmen sought its expression in pre-Raphaelitism."(Degeneration, P.77.) Furthermore, she writes: ""But this retrogression to first beginnings, this affectation of simplicity, this child's play in word and gesture, is a frequent phenomenon amongst the weak-minded, and we shall often meet with it among the mystic poets."(Degeneration, P.82) On John Ruskin who supported the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, she writes: "These proposition were decisive in determining the direction taken by the young Englishmen of 1843, who united artistic inclinations with the mysticism of the degenerate and hysterical. They comprise the aestheticism of the first Pre-Raphaelites, who felt that Ruskin had expressed with clearness what was vaguely fermenting within them." (Degeneration, P.79.)
       In "The Economic Parasitism of Women" in Gospels of Anarchy, Lee mentions the name of Nordau.
       On music, Nordau writes: "The musical listener is accustomed involuntarily to develop a little in his mind every motive occurring in a piece." In this book, he argued the influence of music on human's mind. On ghost stories, he writes: "Ghost-stories are very popular, but they must come on in scientific disguise, as hypnotism, telepathy, somnambulism."


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