Literature provides us with otherwise unavailable insights into the ways emotions are produced, experienced and enacted in human social life. It is particularly valuable because it deepens our comprehension of the mutual relations between emotional response and ethical judgment. These are the central claims of Hogan's study, which carefully examines a range of highly esteemed literary works in the context of current neurobiological, psychological, sociological and other empirical research. In this work, he explains the value of literary study for a cognitive science of emotion and outlines the emotional organization of the human mind. He explores the emotions of romantic love, grief, mirth, guilt, shame, jealousy, attachment, compassion and pity - in each case drawing on one work by Shakespeare and one or more works by writers from different historical periods or different cultural backgrounds, such as the eleventh-century Chinese poet Li Ch'ing-Chao and the contemporary Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka.
Patrick Colm Hogan is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of Connecticut. He is also on the faculty of the Cognitive Science Program, the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies and the India Studies Program. He is the author of thirteen books, including The Mind and its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Emotion (Cambridge University Press, 2003), hailed by Steven Pinker of Harvard University as 'a landmark in modern intellectual life', and the editor or co-editor of four books, including The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences.
Introduction: studying literature, studying emotion; 1. Fictions and feelings: on the place of literature in the study of emotion; 2. What emotions are; 3. Romantic love: Sappho, Li Ch'ing-Chao, and Romeo and Juliet; 4. Grief: Kobayashi Issa and Hamlet; 5. Mirth: from Chinese jokes to A Comedy of Errors; 6. Guilt, shame, jealousy: The Strong Breed, Macbeth, Kagekiyo, and Othello; 7. From attachment to ethical feeling: Rabindranath Tagore and Measure for Measure; 8. Compassion and pity: The Tempest and Une Tempete; Afterword: studying literature shaping emotion: Madame Bovary and the sublime.