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|Title:||TRADE IN FEELINGS: SHAME IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN|
|Authors:||Kay, Ailsa C.|
|Keywords:||history of the novel;affect theory;Literature in English, British Isles;Literature in English, British Isles|
|Abstract:||<p>“Trade in Feelings: Shame in Eighteenth-Century Britain,” traces a genealogy of shame, a difficult feeling which is transformed and reworked in eighteenth-century narratives and which provides a ground for the self-reflective interiority required of commercial subjects. The stakes of this project are twofold. First, while cultural critics (e.g., Ahmed, Probyn, and Sedgwick) have recently theorized shame and suggested its potential for political activism, histories of this feeling have yet to be written. Reading narratives of shame in George Lillo’s <em>London Merchant ( 1731) </em>, Eliza Haywood’s <em>The British Recluse (1722)</em>, multiple editions of Defoe’s <em>Roxana (1724, 1730, 1745)</em>, Samuel Richardson’s <em>Clarissa (1747-48)</em>, and Frances Burney’s <em>Evelina (1778)</em>, this chronologically organized study supplies one part of such a history. As such, the analysis builds on and reframes Foucault’s historical narrative of the emergence of the modern disciplined and divided self-consciousness by focusing on the affects that produce and re-produce it, particularly the affect of shame. Second, while Michael McKeon has identified the formative force of questions of virtue and truth on the novel, this thesis suggests that these questions are critically condensed in narratives of shame. The dissertation argues that private shame and the psychological interiority of the eighteenth-century novel are mutually productive. Once a passion which could lead to vice and even murder, by the late eighteenth century shame becomes a feeling which is internalized, and which divides the self. Connected both to the question of truth and the question of virtue, as well as to the status of passion itself, shame informs our sense of emotions as interior, yet remains inextricable from questions of reputation, credit, and civility.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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