Peter Katz, "Reading Bodies in Victorian Fiction: Associationism, Empathy and Literary Authority "
English | ISBN: 1474476201 | 2022 | 256 pages | PDF | 3 MB
Reading Bodies in Victorian Fiction challenges literary studies to attend to surfaces rather than interpretation through a history of how we came to think about emotion, empathy and reading fiction as intertwined ideas. Against professional readers, writers of popular fiction argued that emotional reading and sensational novels cultivated an ethics of care. They turned to Associationism – an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century science that understood mental phenomena through physiology – to understand language as a physiological process that draws bodies together. Emotional reading cultivated empathy in popular readers, and imbued popular fiction with cultural value.