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Abstract

From the second decade of the twenty-first century, we can seem quite far away from a period that saw the rise of a culture of sensibility and, more specifically, saw the production of popular and critically-respected novels in which somatic scepticism, narrative self-reflexivity, and sentimentalism consistently converged and mutually reinforced one another. As I have noted, since the linguistic turn in the late twentieth century, self-reflexivity in literary works has become virtually synonymous with a self-awareness of texts as products of language. In conventional definitions of metafiction little to no attention is paid to the possibility that a text might reflect back on its own status primarily as a material, printed object. Nor is this linguistic bias in criticism all that surprising given that many works of contemporary metafiction, such as Paul Auster’s City of Glass, John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman, or Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water, frequently deploy self-referential practices to explore how language fundamentally shapes history, identity and culture.

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Notes

  1. Rei Terada’s Feeling in Theory is one example already mentioned here, but Daniel Gross in The Secret History of Emotion (2006) offers a useful overview of the major players in a recent interdisciplinary upsurge in studies of emotion (29), including, from the field of brain science.

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  2. Joseph LeDoux’s The Emotional Brain (1996).

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  3. Anthony Damasio’s The Feeling of What Happens (1999).

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  4. from the humanities, Martha Nussbaum’s Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions (2001).

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  5. Richard Sorabji’s Emotion and Peace of Mind (2000).

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  6. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (2003).

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© 2013 Alex Wetmore

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Wetmore, A. (2013). Afterword. In: Men of Feeling in Eighteenth-Century Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137346346_6

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