This book explores the importance of sympathy as a central idea behind Victorian fiction, and an animating principle of novel reading generally. Sympathy, Brigid Lowe argues, deserves a much more important role as both a subject and a guiding principle for literary criticism.
In recent years, a growing field of empathy studies has started to emerge from several academic disciplines, including neuroscience, social psychology, and philosophy. Because literature plays a central role in discussions of empathy across disciplines, reconsidering how literature relates to "feeling with" others is key to rethinking empathy conceptually. This collection challenges common understandings of empathy, asking readers to question what it is, how it works, and who is capable of performing it. The authors reveal the exciting research on empathy that is currently emerging from literary studies while also making productive connections to other areas of study such as psychology and neurobiology. While literature has been central to discussions of empathy in divergent disciplines, the ways in which literature is often thought to relate to empathy can be simplistic and/or problematic. The basic yet popular postulation that reading literature necessarily produces empathy and pro-social moral behavior greatly underestimates the complexity of reading, literature, empathy, morality, and society. Even if empathy were a simple neurological process, we would still have to differentiate the many possible kinds of empathy in relation to different forms of art. All the complexities of literary and cultural studies have still to be brought to bear to truly understand the dynamics of literature and empathy.
How do we feel for others? Must we try to understand other minds? Do we have to respect others' autonomy, or even their individuality? Or might sympathy be fundamentally more intuitive, bodily and troubling? Taking as her focus the work of Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and Vernon Lee (the first novelist to use the word 'empathy'), Kirsty Martin explores how modernist writers thought about questions of sympathetic response. Attending closely to literary depictions of gesture, movement and rhythm; and to literary explorations of the bodily and of transcendence; this book argues that central to modernism was an ideal of sympathy that was morally complex, but that was driven by a determination to be true to what it is to feel. Offering new readings of major literary texts, and original research into their historical contexts, Modernism and the Rhythms of Sympathy sets modernist texts alongside recent discussions of emotion and cognition. It offers a fresh reading of literary modernism, and suggests how modernism might continue to unsettle our thinking about feeling today.
Much has been written about the Victorian novel, and for good reason. The cultural power it exerted (and, to some extent, still exerts) is beyond question. The Oxford Handbook of the Victorian Novel contributes substantially to this thriving scholarly field by offering new approaches to familiar topics (the novel and science, the Victorian Bildungroman) as well as essays on topics often overlooked (the novel and classics, the novel and the OED, the novel, and allusion). Manifesting the increasing interdisciplinarity of Victorian studies, its essays situate the novel within a complex network of relations (among, for instance, readers, editors, reviewers, and the novelists themselves; or among different cultural pressures - the religious, the commercial, the legal). The handbook's essays also build on recent bibliographic work of remarkable scope and detail, responding to the growing attention to print culture. With a detailed introduction and 36 newly commissioned chapters by leading and emerging scholars — beginning with Peter Garside's examination of the early nineteenth-century novel and ending with two essays proposing the 'last Victorian novel' — the handbook attends to the major themes in Victorian scholarship while at the same time creating new possibilities for further research. Balancing breadth and depth, the clearly-written, nonjargon -laden essays provide readers with overviews as well as original scholarship, an approach which will serve advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and established scholars. As the Victorians get further away from us, our versions of their culture and its novel inevitably change; this Handbook offers fresh explorations of the novel that teach us about this genre, its culture, and, by extension, our own.
George Eliot’s writing process was meticulous in all of its phases, from manuscript to published text. Each of her extensive novels has a delicately crafted syntax, for she shaped her individual sentences as carefully as she wanted her public to read them. Building on the influence of Victorian psychological theory, this book explains how George Eliot consciously created subtle shocks within her grammar—reaching out to her readers beneath the levels of character and story—in her effort to inspire sympathetic response.
The intersection between morality and emotion is not always easily discernible. Researchers often choose to treat these concepts separately, and in doing so an important aspect of this symbiosis is irremediably thwarted. New Interdisciplinary Landscapes in Morality and Emotion considers the relationship between these fields, reflecting on complex philosophical, psychological, social, evolutionary, historical and literary approaches. The book reviews emerging paths and features contributions from distinct scientific fields including highly debated and somewhat controversial topics such as the relationship between empathy and in-group biases; emotion and irrationality; reflexivity and meta-emotions; shame and pro-social behaviour; the evolution of human jealousy; the role of love in driving moral motivation; individuals’ wellbeing; behavioural economics; social robotics; historical considerations of medical societies and politics of sadism; and literary reflections on sympathy and emigration. Covering various methodological angles and entanglements, New Interdisciplinary Landscapes in Morality and Emotion will appeal to anyone interested in multidisciplinary dialogues from across the humanities, sciences, and the social sciences.
Rescues the particularities of Virginia Woolf's political and social participation, tracing her career as an activist across forty-five yearsClara Jones re-reads Woolf's fiction and non-fiction in light of her examination of the details of Woolf's involvement with Morley College, the People's Suffrage Federation, the Women's Co-operative Guild and the National Federation of Women's Institutes. Drawing on extensive archival research into these organisations, Jones also positions Woolf's activism with regard to the institutional contexts in which she worked. Virginia Woolf: Ambivalent Activist demonstrates the degree to which Woolf was sensitive to the internal politics and conflicts of the bodies she was associated with and the ways in which she interrogated her ambivalent attitudes towards her activism throughout her literary career.Focusing on texts that represent the range of Woolf's literary output, this book includes essays, unpublished sketches, Woolf's social realist 1919 novel Night and Day, and her final, visionary novel Between the Acts. This approach to Woolf's writing takes an integrated view, incorporating her juvenilia and foregrounding Woolf's critically neglected early novels. Rather than offering readings of Woolf's well-known 'political' works, Jones instead uncovers the unexpected ways in which Woolf's activism made its way into unlikely texts.Key FeaturesIncludes two new transcriptions of material by Woolf: the 'Report on Teaching at Morley College' ('Morley Sketch') and the 'Cook Sketch'Provides insights into the histories of neglected institutions through accounts of Woolf's activismExplores a range of texts, reading across genres with an alertness to class and gender politics in each case
At a time when biblical authority was under challenge from the Higher Criticism and evolutionary science, ‘what providence meant’ was the most keenly contested of questions. This book takes up the controversial subject of Dickens and religion, and offers a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary area of religion and literature. In a close study of major novels, it argues that networks of biblical allusion reveal the Judeo-Christian grand narrative as key to his development as a writer, and as the ontological ground on which he stands to appeal to ‘the conscience of a Christian people’. Engaging the biblical narrative in dialogue with other contemporary narratives that concern themselves with origins, destinations, and hermeneutic decipherments, the inimitable Dickens affirms the Bible’s still-active role in popular culture. The providential thinking of two twentieth-century theorists, Bakhtin and Ricoeur, sheds light on an exploration of Dickens’s narrative theology.
The most important poetry reference for more than four decades—now fully updated for the twenty-first century Through three editions over more than four decades, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics has built an unrivaled reputation as the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for students, scholars, and poets on all aspects of its subject: history, movements, genres, prosody, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and more. Now this landmark work has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century. Compiled by an entirely new team of editors, the fourth edition—the first new edition in almost twenty years—reflects recent changes in literary and cultural studies, providing up-to-date coverage and giving greater attention to the international aspects of poetry, all while preserving the best of the previous volumes. At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment—including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies—than conventional handbooks or dictionaries. This is a book that no reader or writer of poetry will want to be without. Thoroughly revised and updated by a new editorial team for twenty-first-century students, scholars, and poets More than 250 new entries cover recent terms, movements, and related topics Broader international coverage includes articles on the poetries of more than 110 nations, regions, and languages Expanded coverage of poetries of the non-Western and developing worlds Updated bibliographies and cross-references New, easier-to-use page design Fully indexed for the first time
Belief in spirits, demons and the occult was commonplace in the early modern period, as was the view that these forces could be used to manipulate nature and produce new knowledge. In this groundbreaking study, Mary Floyd-Wilson explores these beliefs in relation to women and scientific knowledge, arguing that the early modern English understood their emotions and behavior to be influenced by hidden sympathies and antipathies in the natural world. Focusing on Twelfth Night, Arden of Faversham, A Warning for Fair Women, All's Well That Ends Well, The Changeling and The Duchess of Malfi, she demonstrates how these plays stage questions about whether women have privileged access to nature's secrets and whether their bodies possess hidden occult qualities. Discussing the relationship between scientific discourse and the occult, she goes on to argue that as experiential evidence gained scientific ground, women's presumed intimacy with nature's secrets was either diminished or demonized.