John Stuart Mill Criticism - Essay

John M. Robson (essay date 1960)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "J. S. Mill's Theory of Poetry," in University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. XXIX, No. 4, 1960, pp. 420-38.

[In the following essay, Robson argues that Mill's theory of poetry combined Utilitarian principles with certain aspects of Romanticism by asserting that poetry advocates moral actions through an appeal to the emotions. ]

John Stuart Mill is often held up to scorn as a cold, mechanical thinker for whom ethics is no more than logic, and politics no more than political economy. Swathed in mournful black, hard-visaged and iceveined, Mill stands for the Victorian virtues to which we (thank heaven) cannot pretend. The picture is patently a caricature, failing to...

(The entire section is 8850 words.)

Edward Alexander (essay date 1965)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mill's Theory of Culture: The Wedding of Literature and Democracy," in University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. XXXV, No. 1, October, 1965, pp. 75-88.

[In the following essay, Alexander explores the implications of Mill's theory of poetry for his definition of culture and his belief in democratic society.]

Ever since M. H. Abrams' directed attention to John Stuart Mill's essays on the nature of poetry, it has been generally recognized that his literary speculations, however slight in proportion to the main body of his work, are worthy of study. The 1833 essays, "What is Poetry?" and "The Two Kinds of Poetry," are now to be found in anthologies of...

(The entire section is 6119 words.)

R. J. Halliday (essay date 1970)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "John Stuart Mill's Idea of Politics," in Political Studies, Vol. 18, No. 4, December, 1970, pp. 461-77.

[In the following analysis of Mill's concept of politics, Halliday argues that Mill rejected the rule-bound theories of Benthamism and Positivism to construct a model of the relationship between the individual and government as a provisional combination of the ideals of laissez-faire and socialism.]

The argument of this paper, which is a complex one, ought to be stated simply in the first instance. John Stuart Mill attempted to study politics without a permanent or substantial commitment to the exact sciences of Bentham, Comte and Saint-Simon. From the early...

(The entire section is 7866 words.)

Fred R. Berger (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Critical Assessment," in Happiness, Justice, and Freedom: The Moral and Political Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, University of California Press, 1984, pp. 279-99.

[In the following excerpt, Berger focuses on limitations in Mill's philosophical writings whereby certain concepts, like morality, happiness, justice, and freedom, are not always defined in clear, logical terms.]

There are many unresolved problems to be faced by a utilitarian holding views such as those of Mill. While I believe the theories I have attributed to him are considerably stronger philosophically than those with which he is usually saddled, there are a great many further difficulties...

(The entire section is 9936 words.)

Susan Groag Bell (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Feminization of John Stuart Mill," in Revealing Lives: Autobiography, Biography and Gender, edited by Susan Groag Bell and Marilyn Yalom, State University of New York Press, 1990, pp. 81-92.

[In the following essay, Bell argues that Mill focused on the intellectual capabilities of his wife in his Autobiography in order to challenge prevailing gender ideologies, which defined women exclusively in emotional terms, and to create an androgynous ideal for both men and women.]

The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill, the most famous male feminist of the nineteenth century, is inspired by a presence that has infuriated many critics—that of...

(The entire section is 5240 words.)

Michele Green (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Sympathy and the Social Value of Poetry: J. S. Mill's Literary Essays," in University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. LX, No. 4, Summer, 1991, pp. 452-68.

[In the following essay, Green traces the development of Mill's views on poetry as part of the intellectual tradition of the Scottish philosophers and the Romantic poets, which emphasized poetry's ability to develop sympathy, and therefore, according to Mill, made it a necessary addition to purely rational Benthamism.]

In 1835, nearly a decade after the mental crisis which initiated his reevaluation of Benthamism, John Stuart Mill took another step towards intellectual independence with the launching of the...

(The entire section is 7530 words.)

Stefan Collini (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "From Sectarian Radical to National Possession: John Stuart Mill in English Culture," in A Cultivated Mind: Essays on J. S. Mill Presented to John M. Robson, edited by Michael Laine, University of Toronto Press, 1991, pp. 242-72.

[In the following essay, Collini traces Mill's posthumous reputation in late nineteenth and early twentieth century to argue that Mill's gradual incorporation into Britain's intellectual canon marks the consolidation of Britain's nationalist self-definition during this period of high imperialism.]

In a fine passage in his essay on Malthus, Keynes celebrates, with a nicely judged sense of pride in his own intellectual ancestry, what he...

(The entire section is 12969 words.)