This book offers an original approach to a number of nineteenth-century authors in terms of what are seen as the constitutive affective dynamics of their work. Pursuing theoretically and philosophically informed close readings, John Hughes emphasizes issues of the embodied mind in literary texts, and explores the inventive and discriminating powers of thought -- as well as the projections of identity and relatedness -- staged and expressed by imaginative writing in the 'long nineteenth-century'. Within each chapter a writer is seen as investigating the physical or emotional determinants of mind, as well as the social conditions of subjectification, through the figurative, dramatic and subjective means of their art. The individual author chapters examine a singular, exemplary, instance of how acts of mind, and moments of self-awareness, are generated from emotional or physical response: musical experience in Blake; the recreational activity of walking in Wordsworth; fantasies of resentment in Poe; moments or modes of cross-gender, feminine, identification in Tennyson; bodily sensation, and self-separation, in Charlotte Bronte; eye contact and looking in Hardy.
In each case, the exampled texts from these authors and poets display an affective or physical inspiration. Hughes draws on themes of ethical subjectivity in the work of Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze to provide essential reading for all those involved in nineteenth-century literature.