There has recently been a resurgence of interest in the importance of the emotions in Romantic literature and thought. This collection, the first to stress the centrality of the emotions to Romanticism, addresses a complex range of issues including the relation of affect to figuration and knowing, emotions and the discipline of knowledge, the motivational powers of emotion, and emotions as a shared ground of meaning. Contributors offer significant new insights on the ways in which a wide range of Romantic writers, including Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Immanuel Kant, Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas De Quincey and Adam Smith, worried about the emotions as a register of human experience. Though varied in scope, the essays are united by the argument that the current affective and emotional turn in the humanities benefits from a Romantic scepticism about the relations between language, emotion and agency.
Joel Faflak is Professor of English and Theory, and Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities at Western University, Ontario. He is author of Romantic Psychoanalysis: The Burden of the Mystery (2008) and co-editor of A Handbook to Romanticism Studies (2012). Richard C. Sha is Professor of Literature and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at American University, Washington, DC. He is author of Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832 (2009) and editor of Historicizing Romantic Sexuality (2006).
Introduction: feeling Romanticism Joel Faflak and Richard C. Sha; 1. The motion behind Romantic emotion: towards a chemistry and physics of feeling Richard C. Sha; 2. 'A certain mediocrity': Adam Smith's moral behaviourism Thomas Pfau; 3. Like love: the feel of Shelley's similes Julie Carlson; 4. Jane Austen and the persuasion of happiness Joel Faflak; 5. The general fast and humiliation: tracking feeling in wartime Mary A. Favret; 6. A peculiar community: Mary Shelley, Godwin, and the abyss of emotion Tilottama Rajan; 7. Emotion without content: primary affect and pure potentiality in Wordsworth David Collings; 8. Kant's peace, Wordsworth's slumber Jacques Khalip; 9. Living a ruined life: De Quincey's damage Rei Terada.