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Spaces of Feeling: Affect and Awareness in Modernist Literature (Hardback)
  • Spaces of Feeling: Affect and Awareness in Modernist Literature (Hardback)

Spaces of Feeling: Affect and Awareness in Modernist Literature (Hardback)

Hardback 186 Pages / Published: 15/12/2017
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Can other people notice our affects more easily than we do? In Spaces of Feeling, Marta Figlerowicz examines modernist novels and poems that treat this possibility as electrifying, but also deeply disturbing. Their characters and lyric speakers are undone, Figlerowicz posits, by the realization that they depend on others to solve their inward affective conundrums-and that, to these other people, their feelings often do not seem mysterious at all.

Spaces of Feeling features close readings of works by Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, John Ashbery, Ralph Ellison, Marcel Proust, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, and Wallace Stevens. Figlerowicz points out that these poets and novelists often place their protagonists in domestic spaces-such as bedrooms, living rooms, and basements-in which their cognitive dependence on other characters inhabiting these spaces becomes clear. Figlerowicz highlights the diversity of aesthetic and sociopolitical contexts in which these affective dependencies become central to these authors' representations of selfhood. By setting these novels and poems in conversation with the work of contemporary theorists, she illuminates pressing and unanswered questions about subjectivity.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9781501714221
Number of pages: 186
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm


"I am impressed by Marta Figlerowicz's ability to put the writers she has chosen in the context of arguments about affect. Readers looking for subtle readings of major literary texts from the new `spaces of feeling' will be delighted by this book."

-- Carolyn Allen, author of Following Djuna

"Marta Figlerowicz is a careful and perceptive reader who shows us time and again that the language of feelings is misleading, that, for instance, grand avowals and fervent resolutions are just as likely to open a gap between the individual and the world as they are to restore harmony between the two."

-- Allen Dunn , coeditor of Literary Aesthetics

"In this utterly original, riveting book, as much a work of philosophy as of literary criticism, Marta Figlerowicz unearths a sustained engagement on the part of Stevens, Plath, Ashbery, Woolf, Fitzgerald, Proust, Baldwin, and Ellison with the limits of introspective self-knowledge. This brilliant study is necessary reading for anyone working on feelings, affect, and emotion."

-- Sianne Ngai, University of Chicago

"Spaces of Feeling explores the subjective interdependence and distributed cognition that we have come to associate with great works of modernist literature. But in place of a vision of realized connection and insight, Marta Figlerowicz describes knowledge gathered on the run, contingently and uncertainly. The achievement of this book is to show that self-awareness is always incomplete, and that such incompleteness is not a failure but is crucial to sustaining ethical relations with others. "

-- Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania, author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History

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