The Emotional Landscape of
Classical Nineteenth-Century Texts
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you
(e.e. cummings, 1973)
| Emerson Fibs|
On-line Course Forum|
Lecture and Discussion Notes
Student Web Papers|
This course offers an exploration of the role emotion plays in writing and reading the classics of nineteenth-century American literature. We'll study four 19th-century American "big books": Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We will also read one "mid-size" 19th-century literary text, Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw," and essays by William James, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Adam Smith, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller. In addition, to help us in understanding what emotion is and how we use it, we will do some selected reading and have guest lectures in biology, philosophy, psychology and economics.
Together, we will think, talk and write our ways through this range of literary, cultural and scientific stories, asking what the relationship of emotion has been to the academic work we do, generally, and to the reading of classic American literary texts, in particular. As we read and revise what these texts might mean, we will ask how the relation between cognition and emotion ("thinking and feeling") might be configured differently.
Students will be expected to contribute to the education of their colleagues as well as to those beyond the bi-co by participating in a weekly on-line forum, and by putting their papers on the web.
T, 1/17: Feeling and Thinking|
Mariah Carey, "Emotions"
James Averill, "I Feel, Therefore I Am--I Think." The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions. Ed. Paul Ekman and Richard Davidson. New York: Oxford, 1994. 379-385.
James Elkins, "The Ivory Tower of Tearlessness." The Chronicle Review (November 9, 2001).
Th, 1/19: Feeling and Reading
Th, 1/26: Regulating Emotion--What Moves Us, How and Why
William James, "What Is an Emotion?" Mind 9: 1884; rpt. Classics in the History of Psychology: An Internet Resrouce
Sigmund Freud. From "The Unconscious." 1915. "Anxiety." From A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. 1916-17. Rpt. What Is an Emotion? Classic and Contemporary Readings. 2nd edition. Ed. Robert Solomon. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 98-109.
-----. Civilization and its Discontents. 1930; trans. and ed. James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961. 11-35.
M, 1/30: opportunity for first 5-pp. paper, on Freud and/or the Jameses|
Charles Darwin, Chapters 1-3. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. 1872. Rpt. New York: Oxford, 1998. 33-87. (See also The Writings of Charles Darwin on the Web.)
Antonio Damasio. "Biological Regulation and Survival" and "Emotions and Feelings." Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. 114-164.
Th, 2/2-T, 2/14
Herman Melville. Moby-Dick. 1851; rpt. Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Hershel Parker, Harrison Hayford. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002.
Th, 2/16: Reading Emotion--Our Literary Preferences
Jane Tompkins. "An Introduction to Reader-Response Criticism" and "The Reader in History: The Changing Shape of Literary Response." Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980. ix-xxvi, 201-232.
Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson. Introduction. Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. 1-23.
Fri, 2/17: opportunity for second 5-pp. paper, on Moby-Dick
T, 2/21-Th, 3/2
Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom's Cabin. 1852; rpt. Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Elizabeth Ammons. New York; W.W. Norton, 1994.
T, 3/7-Th, 3/9 SPRING BREAK
T, 3/14: Thinking Emotion--Cognition and Choice
Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter. 1850; rpt. Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Sculley Bradley et. al. New York: W.W. Norton, 1978.
Guest Lecture by Marc Schultz (Department of Psychology)
Fri, 3/17: opportunity for third 5-pp. paper, on Uncle Tom's Cabin
T, 3/21-Th, 3/23
The Scarlet Letter continued
Guest Lecture by Amelie Rorty (Honorary Lecturer on Social Medicine, Harvard University)
-----. "The Historicity of Psychological Attitudes: Love Is Not Love Which Alters Not When It Alteration Finds." Mind in Action: Essays in the Philosophy of Mind. Boston: Beacon, 1988. 121-134.
-----. "The Political Sources of the Emotions: Greed and Anger." Philosophical Studies 89 (1998): 143-159.
Th, 3/30: Enacting Emotion--Belief and Behavior|
Guest Lecture by David Ross (Department of Economics)
Milton Friedman, "The Methodology of Positive Economics."
F, 3/31: opportunity for fourth 5-pp. paper, on The Scarlet Letter
T, 4/4-Th, 4/13
S, 4/29 (for seniors) and S, 5/6 (for everyone else):
T, 4/18: Transcending (?) Emotion
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance." 1841; rpt. The Complete Essays
and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ed. Brooks Atkinson.
New York: Modern Library, 1940. 145-152.
Margaret Fuller, "The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men. Woman versus Women."
1843; rpt. The Feminist Papers: From Adams to de Beauvoir. Ed. Alice Rossi.
Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1988. 158-182.
T, 4/25-Th, 4/27|
How might you map, together, the emotional landscape of 19th-century American literature? (10-15-minute group presentations, reflecting on some aspect of the course readings, intended to encourage, in a provocative and entertaining way, further story development in others.)
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