Chapter

Affect

Derek Attridge

in The Work of Literature

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780198733195
Published online April 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191797750 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733195.003.0010
Affect

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The question of affect in responses to literature has been much discussed in recent years. Without making a firm distinction among the terms ‘affect’, ‘emotion’, and feeling, this chapter explores the affective dimension of the response to literary works. The chief example is a passage from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, showing that the emotions it generates are distinct from those generated by real events. The important role of form is discussed, demonstrating that the pleasure to be obtained even from gruesome accounts owes much to the formal achievements of the literary work. Hardy’s ‘At Castle Boterel’ is also considered, as a contrasting work in which the feelings of a first-person speaker are conveyed.

Keywords: affect; emotion; feeling; McCarthy; Hardy; form

Chapter.  7846 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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