Emotions and Time: Approaching Emotions Through a Fusion of Horizons
This chapter examines the relationship between emotions and time. Drawing from Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics, it takes a fusion of horizons as a means by which to place multiple temporal perspectives in dialogue with one another. As such, we argue that a fusion of horizons allows us to consider emotions not as isolated, ephemeral experiences but as a creative continuum in which a host of emotional appraisals, including their connections, can be explored. Looking at the effects of time and emotional experience opens up the methodological compass of the study of emotions. Upon discussing the nature of emotional experience and Gadamer’s fusion of horizons, the chapter turns to Stanley Fish’s affective stylistics, a method which takes the reader as ‘an actively mediating presence,’ in order to look at the connections between time and emotional experience. To exemplify how the method can be applied, the chapter studies the links between the emotional appraisals extolled by the Bush administration before and immediately after 9/11. Contrary to interpretations which suggest that 9/11 resulted in a radical restructuring of United States’ foreign policy, we argue that Bush’s emotional appraisals were actually beset by a strong level of continuity.
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