T. S. Eliot, Emotion and the Reader

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Abstract

From the mid-1990s onwards, the humanities and social sciences have devoted a great deal of attention to the operations of the affects, and there has been much talk about "the affective turn". This article begins by looking at the impact of that phenomenon on scholarly and critical work on T. S. Eliot, a milder impact than one might have expected. It then goes on to investigate the interplay of emotion and intellect in the creation of Eliot's works, affective effects on readers of literature and the role of the academic writer/teacher in the context of emotional engagement with literary texts. The contention of cognitive scientists that emotion and thought do not occupy distinct cerebral spheres is seen as a liberating factor, and the author argues that the admission of affective dimensions to a pursuit traditionally dominated by intellectuality contributes to making the present time a propitious one for innovative Eliot criticism.

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  • Specific Literatures
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-457
JournalEnglish Studies
Volume96
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes