Affect Theory and Literary Critical Practice, 1st ed. 2019
A Feel for the Text

Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism Series

Coordinator: Ahern Stephen

Language: Anglais

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263 p. · 14.8x21 cm · Hardback

Affect Theory and Literary Critical Practice develops new approaches to reading literature that are informed by the insights of scholars working in affect studies across many disciplines, with essays that consider works of fiction, drama, poetry and memoir ranging from the medieval to the postmodern. While building readings of representative texts, contributors reflect on the value of affect theory to literary critical practice, asking: what explanatory power is affect theory affording me here as a critic? what can the insights of the theory help me do with a text? Contributors work to incorporate lines of theory not always read together, accounting for the affective intensities that circulate through texts and readers and tracing the operations of affectively charged social scripts. Drawing variously on queer, feminist and critical race theory and informed by ecocritical and new materialist sensibilities, essays in the volume share a critical practice founded in an ethics of relation and contribute to an emerging postcritical moment.

1. Introduction: A Feel for the Text, Stephen Ahern.- 2. The Body in Wonder: Affective Suspension and Medieval Queer Futurity, Wan-Chuan Kao.- 3. (Non-)Belief in Things: Affect Theory and A New Literary Materialism, Neil Vallelly.- 4. Semblances of Affect in the Early English Novel: Narrating Intensity, Joel P. Sodano.- 5. Reading and the Sociality of Disappointing Affects in Jane Austen, Carmen Faye Mathes.- 6. Shame and its Affects: The Form–Content Implosion of Shelley’s The Cenci, Merrilees Roberts.- 7. Bodily Sympathy, Affect, and Victorian Sensation Fiction, Tara MacDonald.- 8. Feeling Other(s): Dracula and the Ethics of Unmanageable Affect, Kimberly O’Donnell.- 9. Glad Animals: Speed, Affect, and Modern Literature, Katherine G. Sutherland.- 10. Senses without Names: Affective Becomings in William Faulkner and Carson McCullers, Jill Marsden.- 11. Invisible Memories: Black Feminist Literature and its Affective Flights, Jamie Rogers.- 12. On Good Listening, Postcritique, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Affective Testimony, Tobias Skiveren.- 13. Feeling Nature, Reconsidered: Ecocriticism, Affect, and the Case of H is for Hawk, Lisa Ottum.

Stephen Ahern is Professor of English at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.  His work on affect and the cultural politics of emotion includes two recent books: Affect and Abolition in the Anglo-Atlantic, 1770–1830 (ed.)(2013) and Affected Sensibilities: Romantic Excess and the Genealogy of the Novel, 1680–1810 (2007).


Provides a guide for deploying affect theories to elucidate literary texts

Explores a range of genres and historical eras

Evaluates affect theories to assess their usefulness to critical theorists