This article investigates the role of the corridor in Gothic fiction and horror
film from the late eighteenth century to the present day. It seeks to establish
this transitional space as a crucial locus, by tracing the rise of the corridor
as a distinct mode of architectural distribution in domestic and public
buildings since the eighteenth century. The article tracks pivotal appearances
of the corridor in fiction and film, and in the final phase argues that it has
become associated with a specific emotional tenor, less to do with amplified
fear and horror and more with emotions of Angst or dread.
Bringing together research on textual representations of various forms of positive feeling in early modern Europe, this collection of essays highlights the diverse and nuanced cultural meanings of happiness and well-being in this period, which is often characterized as a melancholy age. Interdisciplinary methodological approaches—informed by emotion studies, affect theory, and the contemporary cognitive sciences—provide various frames for understanding how the period cultivated and theorized positive emotions, as well as how those emotions were deployed in political, social, and intellectual contexts. Pointing to the ways the binary between positive and negative might be inadequate to describe emotive structures and narratives, the essays promote analysis of new archives and offer surprising readings of some texts at the center of the Renaissance canon. In addition to an introduction that provides an overview of work in contemporary studies of positive emotions and historical accounts of good feeling in early modern Europe, the book includes three sections: 1) rewriting discourses of pleasure, 2) imagining happy communities, and 3) forms, attachment, and ambivalence. The essays focus on works by such writers as Burton, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Traherne, and Webster, as well as on other kinds of texts circulating in the period. While focused on English writings, essays on continental writers contribute to a wider context for understanding these emotions as European cultural constructions. Finally, the volume offers windows onto the complex histories of happiness, well-being, humor, and embodiment that inform the ways emotions are experienced and negotiated in the present day.
This is the first extensive study of literary swooning, homing in on the swoon’s long, rich and suggestive history as well as its potential for opening up new ways of thinking about the contemporary. From the lives of medieval saints to recent romance fiction, the swoon has had a pivotal place in English literature. This study shows that swoons have been intimately connected to explorations of emotionality, ecstasy and transformation; to depictions of sickness and of dying; and to performances of gender and gendering. A literary history of swooning is therefore also a history of crux points for how we imagine the body, and for evolving ideas of physiology, gender, and sexuality. Tracking the history of the figure of the swoon from the thirteenth to the twenty-first century, this study suggests that the swoon has long been used as a way to figure literary creation and aesthetic sensitivity: from the swoons of early mystics to contemporary literary-theoretical depictions of destabilised subjects, literary faints have offered a model of overwhelming, aesthetic, affective response. In the work of Chaucer and Shakespeare, swoons are seen as moments of generic possibility, through which the direction of a text might be transformed. In romantic, gothic and modernist fiction, this study focuses on morbid, feminised swoons used by writers who reject masculinist, heteronormative codes of health. In contemporary romance fiction, irony, cliché and bathos shadow the transformative possibilities of the swoon. This book offers an exciting new way to examine the history of the body alongside the history of literary response.
experiences of emotion. Exchanges that are successful promote and reinforce positive emotional experiences and bonds within the network, and the reverse is true of failed exchanges and the negative emotions they produce. Edward Lawler, ‘An affecttheory of social exchange’, American Journal of Sociology 107, no. 2 (2001), 321–52.
All of these senses, and a few others, are suggested in the Oxford English Dictionary definitions of ‘will
Positive emotions, historical texts
In drawing attention to positive emotions, this collection participates in two larger intellectual projects and interdisciplinary scholarly movements. The first is what Sara Ahmed has termed a ‘happiness turn’ in contemporary affecttheory, reflecting a developing popular cultural interest in happiness and well-being.
The ‘happiness turn’ is an expansion and intensification of the much larger ‘affective turn
Faces, bodies and basics
Ekman was inspired by the work of Silvan Tomkins, the pioneer of ‘AffectTheory’. AffectTheory posits a transhistorical biology in which certain ‘affects’ – a word deployed explicitly to refer to that part of emotional behaviour which is innate, built in, hardwired and automatic – are connected to certain expressions of the face. By biologising the fundamental ingredients of emotional behaviour, it was also logical to situate that biology in the part of the body that literally faces outwards. The face becomes a
Melissa Gregg and
Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The AffectTheory Reader (Durham,
NC: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 31–51 (31).
13 Sara Ahmed, ‘Affective Economies’, Social Text, 22 (2004), 117–
39 (119); emphasis added. This depiction of affective economies
maintains the subject–object distinction, which I tend to read as an
artificial boundary that gives opportunities for granting, to the objects
that we determine deserve it, the status of subjects with an exclusive claim to agency. However, this is no limitation to Ahmed’s argument, for her particular
while containing the potential for very different effects. I further argue that some of his
shows, or parts of them, activate in viewers ‘an awareness of the political and ideological factors underlying perception’ (Woycicki 4), while others lack critical perspective
on representational practices. I do so by bringing the existing scholarship on the effects
of his work together with several related contemporary critical strategies. Considering
Lepage’s work through affecttheory and through Jacques Rancière’s conceptualisation of the emancipated spectator allows us to
This collection of nine new chapters investigates how the late medieval household
acts as a sorter, user, and disseminator of different kinds of ready
information, from the traditional and authoritative to the innovative and newly
made. Building on established work on the noble and royal ‘great household’, as
well as on materialist historiography on rural and bourgeois domestic life,
Household Knowledges considers bourgeois, gentry, and collegiate households on
both sides of the English Channel. Arguing that the relationship between the
domestic experience and the forms assumed by that experience’s cultural
expression is both dynamic and reciprocal, the chapters in this volume address a
range of cultural productions, including conduct texts, romances and comic
writing, agricultural and estates management literature, devotional and medical
writing, household music and drama, and manuscript anthologies. Contributors
develop a range of methodologies, drawing on insights generated by recent
manuscript scholarship as well as on innovations in affect theory and object
relations theory; their chapters reconsider the constitution of the
late-medieval urban and gentry home by practices of writing and reading,
translation and language use, and manuscript compilation, as well as by the
development of complex object–human relations and the adaptation of traditional
gender and class roles. Together, the studies compiled in Household Knowledges
provide a fresh illustration of the imaginative scope of the late medieval
household, of its extensive internal and external connections, and of its
fundamental centrality—both as an idea and a reality—to late-medieval cultural
This book explores the development of Robert Lepage’s distinctive approach to stage direction in the early (1984–94) and middle (1995–2008) stages of his career, arguing that globalisation had a defining effect in shaping his aesthetic and professional trajectory. It combines examination of Lepage’s theatremaking techniques with discussion of his work’s effects on audiences, calling on Lepage’s own statements as well as existing scholarship and critical response. In addition to globalisation theory, the book draws on cinema studies, queer theory, and theories of affect and reception. As such, it offers an unprecedented conceptual framework, drawing together what has previously been a scattered field of research. Each of six chapters treats a particular aspect of globalisation, using this as a means to explore one or more of Lepage’s productions. These aspects include the relationship of the local (in Lepage’s case, his background in Québec) to the global; the place of individual experience within global late modernity; the effects of screen media on human perception; the particular affect of ‘feeling global’; the place of branding in contemporary creative systems; and the relationship of creative industries to neoliberal economies. Making theatre global: Robert Lepage’s original stage productions will be of interest to scholars of contemporary theatre, advanced-level undergraduates with an interest in the application of theoretical approaches to theatrical creation and reception, and arts lovers keen for new perspectives on one of the most talked-about theatre artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.