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Empathy and the Psychology of Literary Modernism

Empathy and the Psychology of Literary Modernism (Hardback)

£70.00
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Synopsis

This book shows how fin de siecle conceptions of empathy are woven into the fabric of literary modernism. Empathy is a cognitive and affective structure of feeling, a bridge across interpersonal distance. Coined in 1909 to combine English 'sympathy' and German 'Einfuhlung,' 'empathy' is a specifically 20th-century concept of fellow feeling. Empathy and the Psychology of Literary Modernism looks into the little-known history of empathy, revealing how this multi-faceted concept had a profound effect on literary modernism. Meghan Marie Hammond shows how five exemplary writers (Henry James, Dorothy Richardson, Katherine Mansfield, Ford Madox Ford, and Virginia Woolf) tackle the so-called 'problem of other minds' in ways that reflect and enrich early 20th-century discourses of fellow feeling. Hammond argues that these authors reconfigure notions of intersubjective experience; their writings mark a key shift away from sympathetic forms of literary representation toward empathic forms that strive to provide an immediate sense of another's thoughts and feelings.

But while literary modernism values empathic experience as an ideal, it is also teeming with voices that recognize potential for danger, even violence, in acts of empathy. These voices illuminate our culture's ongoing concern with empathy's limits. It recovers early psychology, a discipline that has often been neglected in favor of psychoanalysis, as a framework for literary modernism. It provides a conceptual history of empathy that expands our understanding of the modernist world. It grants new insight into modernist technique by explaining how it relates to contemporaneous psychological and aesthetic theories on empathy. It prompts a rethinking of empathy, a capacity that is as widely misunderstood as it is celebrated.

Essays & WritingLiterary CriticismLiterary studies: generalLiterary studies: from c 1900 -Essays & WritingLiterary CriticismLiterary theory Publisher: Edinburgh University Press Publication Date: 08/10/2014 ISBN-13: 9780748690985  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Printed to order. Despatched in 2-3 weeks.  

Meghan Marie Hammond is currently Language Lecturer in the Expository Writing Program at New York University.

More books by Meghan Marie Hammond

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