Affect Theory, Genre, and the Example of Tragedy: Dreams We Learn

Affect Theory, Genre, and the Example of Tragedy: Dreams We Learn

by Duncan A. Lucas

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Affect Theory, Genre, and the Example of Tragedy employs Silvan Tomkins’ Affect-Script theory of human psychology to explore the largely unacknowledged emotions of disgust and shame in tragedy. The book begins with an overview of Tomkins’ relationship to both traditional psychoanalysis and theories of human motivation and emotion, before considering tragedy via case studies of Oedipus, Hamlet, and Death of a Salesman. Aligning Affect-Script theory with literary genre studies, this text explores what motivates fictional characters within the closed conditions of their imagined worlds and how we as an audience relate to and understand fictional characters as motivated humans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783030069285
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Publication date: 01/18/2019
Series: Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism
Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2018
Pages: 329
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.03(d)

About the Author

Duncan A. Lucas is Professor of Communications in the Department of Liberal Studies at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Table of Contents

Part One: Theory

Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Tomkins and Literature: A Hermeneutical Model

Chapter Three: Tragedy and the Trope of Disgust

Part Two: Application

Chapter Four: Case Study One: Sophocles’ Oedipus

Chapter Five: Case Study Two: Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Chapter Six: Case Study Three: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Chapter Seven: Conclusion: Dreams We Learn

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This is an overall impressive scholarly work, innovative and timely in conception . . . [and] the most original work on literary theory I’ve read in some time. It contributes distinctly to a welcome trend of expanded dialogue in the humanities long overdue.” (Donald R. Wehrs, Hargis Professor of English Literature, Auburn University, USA)

“Duncan Lucas’s Dreams We Learn begins with a lucid introduction to Silvan Tomkins’ complex affect and script theory–an impressive feat in itself—and then provides, in a set of highly original close readings, an acute demonstration of the power of Tomkins’ ideas when applied to literature, specifically, in this case, to tragic drama. Persuasively argued and a pleasure to read, it is an indispensable work for anyone interested in affect and its relevance to literature and literary theory.” (Joseph Adamson, Professor Emeritus of English, McMaster University, Canada, and author of Melville, Shame, and the Evil Eye and co-editor of Scenes of Shame: Psychoanalysis, Shame, and Writing (1998))

“An extremely ambitious and carefully researched work of impressive interdisciplinary reach, Duncan Lucas’s Dreams We Learn: Affect Theory, Genre, and the Example of Tragedy brings thoughtful attention to the affect-script theory of human motivation of Silvan Tomkins and shows how Tomkins’ theory provides “new investigative ground” for understanding the nature of suffering in tragedy. Providing a wonderful sourcebook for literary critics interested in gaining a working knowledge of Silvan Tomkins’ affect-script theory, Lucas has written an insightful and original work as he illuminates, often in unexpected ways, how literary personalities “engage the world emotionally.” (J. Brooks Bouson, Professor English, Loyola University Chicago, USA, and author of Quiet As It’s Kept: Shame, Trauma, and Race in the Novels of Toni Morrison (2000), Embodied Shame: Uncovering Female Shame in Contemporary Women’s Writings (2009), and Shame and the Aging Woman: Confronting and Resisting Ageism in Contemporary Women’s Writings (2016))

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