The Life of the Mind
: Psychic Explorations in the work of May Sinclair

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


May Sinclair (1863-1946) produced a large corpus of work in the early twentieth century expressing widespread interests across a variety of literary forms. This thesis discusses a broad spectrum of her work and argues that Sinclair's consistent project is to foreground issues of consciousness through constructs of the psyche. Underlying this psychic exploration is her concern with the experience of reality: philosophical, metaphysical and mystical, seen as a touchstone for her exposition of the world within the life of the mind.

I discuss different cultural contexts including the turn of the century fears of degeneration as well as an optimism for female education; philosophical idealism; the turn to psychology, psychical research and spiritualism; and the First World War and war memory and neurosis. My argument is that Sinclair's innovative approach in exploring representations of the mind has led to new, culturally-based notions of modernism.
Date of Award1999
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Sussex
SupervisorJenny Bourne Taylor (Supervisor)

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