Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 175 items for :

  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All
Abstract only
A poetics of passing out
Author: Naomi Booth

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.

Naomi Booth

this chapter, I want to think about the affective excess of vampire tales with Morton's notion of dark ecology in mind. Swooning is endemic to vampire narratives, which depend on the depiction of a subject being overwhelmed in the encounter with the vampire. The critic Kimberly O’Donnell, in her work on ‘Feeling Other(s): Dracula and the Ethics of Unmanageable Affect’ focuses on the swoons and faints in the text as dramatisations of ‘automatic, affective response’; of forces impacting on the body at a ‘non-conscious’ level. In these moments of swooning, she argues

in Swoon
Naomi Booth

In the preceding chapters, we have seen how, since the eighteenth century, swooning clusters in works of literature that examine illness in conjunction with femininity – whether that is under the context of the extra sensitivity lauded and then interrogated under the rubric of sensibility; in the gothic, eroticising and erotophobic swoons of vampire fiction; or in the attempts of writers to channel feminine morbidity in new visions of artistic creation and embodiment. In this final chapter, I focus on a queer romance novel, Patricia Highsmith

in Swoon
Abstract only
Contemporary catatonia
Naomi Booth

Simnett's work is an intense performance of fainting that animates many of the qualities of swooning that have been of interest to me in proposing a poetics of passing out: aesthetic experience presented as a profound destabiliser of the body; the veneration of fainting as a measure of receptivity to art; experiences at the brink of life and death; excessive feeling, muteness and morbid disturbances of language; gendered and racialised performances of passing out; the power of the past to repeat itself through our bodies and to disturb the present. Simnett's charged

in Swoon
Abstract only
A poetics of passing out
Naomi Booth

In Bernini's statue The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa , she is lying back in a swoon with her mouth wide open. An angel stands over her. In one hand he holds an arrow, directed at her heart; the other teases the hem of her robe. Beams of light erupt from the sky. You can tell she is in both kinds of ecstasy. When I look at that sculpture, the folds of her marble dress, I can feel her lightness. Breathing life into stone. This is what it means to float

in Swoon
Swooning in late medieval literature
Naomi Booth

To be true is to be vulnerable to death. Stephen A. Barney, ‘Troilus Bound’ (1972) 1 In some of the earliest surviving literary examples of swooning, its symbolic power is bound up with the potential it allows for dramatic alteration: for conversion, for renewal, for sudden changes in direction, for revival into life from symbolic

in Swoon
Abstract only
Shadow resurrections and artistic transformations
Naomi Booth

I did not die. But slowly, as one in a swoon To whom life creeps back in the form of death, With a sense of separation, a blind pain Of blank obstruction, and a roar i’ the ears Of visionary chariots which retreat As earth grows clearer … slowly, by degrees, I woke, rose up. Elizabeth Barrett

in Swoon
Abstract only
The swoon and the (in)sensible woman
Naomi Booth

's sister, seeing her unconscious, sinks into a sympathetic swoon, so that both are ‘insensible’, and a third woman in their party is thrown into ‘hysterical agitations’. News of this spectacle travels: [T]he report of the accident had spread among the workmen and boatmen about the Cobb, and many were collected … to enjoy the sight of a dead young lady, nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the first report. (79

in Swoon
Shakespearean swoons and unreadable body-texts
Naomi Booth

Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes; […] why, she, O she is fall’n Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea Hath drops too few to wash her clean again, And salt too little which may season give To her foul tainted flesh! ( Much Ado About Nothing , IV.i.123–144) The swooning

in Swoon
Abstract only
Sam Rohdie

, the Marquise is saved from rape by the Russian Count, her hero, the embodiment of all virtue, before whom she swoons away. Months later she finds herself pregnant. But by whom? Certainly not by the noble count. In his Le Beau mariage, the young woman, whose love-making is interrupted by a phone call from her lover’s wife, rejects him in a rage and determines to marry. She chooses, almost at random, someone to be her husband

in Montage