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ENGLISH 309: Affect, Embodiment, and the Modern Novel

How have novelists' techniques for narrating emotions, desires, and bodily sensations changed over time? This class will focus on late nineteenth and early twentieth century British and Irish writers whose works have been central to critical narratives about the literary-historical development of the novel form. We will examine these writers' strategies of affective description - and the kinds of feelings and desires they were able to describe - in light of changing medical and scientific understandings of the body and mind and shifts in legal constraints on representing 'obscene' sexual acts. Students will also be introduced to theoretical work on affect by critics such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, and Sianne Ngai. Focal texts may include: Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles; D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway; James Joyce, Ulysses; Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart.
Terms: Win | Units: 5
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