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Affecting Fictions: Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism [Book Review]

Weinstein, Cindy (2010) Affecting Fictions: Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism [Book Review]. Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 43 (2). pp. 379-380. ISSN 0029-5132.

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Jane E Thrailkill's Affecting Fictions not only dares to commit the affective fallacy; she insists on the intellectual necessity of doing so given the consistency with which texts of American literary realism collapse any clear-cut distinctions between the mind and the body. The "mindful corporeality of affective experience" (7) and "the interanimation of the human mind and body" (8) in works ranging from Oliver Wendell Holmes's Elsie Venner to Kate Chopin's The Awakening to Henry James's The Wings of the Dove demand a theoretical position, which is also deeply historicist, that recognizes the key role played by emotions in navigating the complicated circuitry of the mind and body. "What happens when we feel our way into works of fiction?" (8) is the problematic that organizes Thrailkill's account. Indeed, one the most satisfying aspects of this analysis - at least to this historically trained reader - is that it is also the question posed and probed in the novels themselves, as well as in the vast historical archive ranging across Williams James (Affecting Fiction's putative hero), John Dewey, and Arthur Schopenhauer, to name just a few, that Thrailkill brings to bear in her readings.

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Alternate Title:Eyes Wide Open: Committing the Affective Fallacy
Additional Information:© 2010 Duke University Press. Book Review of: Jane F. Thrailkill, Affecting Fictions: Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007), pp. 320, cloth.
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180828-130341180
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Official Citation:WEINSTEIN, CINDY. “Eyes Wide Open: Committing the Affective Fallacy.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 43, no. 2, 2010, pp. 379–380. JSTOR,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:89253
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Aug 2018 23:28
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 20:14

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