I don't know why one slight set of impressions should be more particularly associated with a place than another,

Category: Mind | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: I Have a Change

The matter of association had been a subject of the most intense speculation and inquiry since the philosopher and psychologist John Locke published in 1689 his Essay on the Human Understanding and in Some Thoughts concerning Education (1693). David Hume's Enquiry Concering the Human Understanding (1748) and the next year David Hartley's Observations on Man made it central to his theory of memory and the nervous system. The subject dominates one of Dickens's favorite novels as a youth, Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759-67), which functions almost entirely on the level of often hilarious associations from which cascade digressions. 

A connecting line weaves through the 18th c. to Wordsworth and Coleridge, who were as young poets influenced by Hartley especially (Coleridge named a son Hartley) to Dickens. A number of Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads (1798) are driven by sub-rational association and Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight" traces its delicate filigree.

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