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Historicising Emotion in Crossing the River by Caryl Phillips

Abstract : This article deals with the historical dimension of Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River from the point of view of the representation of emotion. Starting from the idea expressed by historians like Alain Corbin and Arlette Farge that it is difficult to represent emotions from the past, the article uses William Reddy’s The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions as a frame for attempting to go beyond the apparent contradiction between a universalist view of emotion and a constructivist one which sees emotions as specific to cultures. On the basis of Reddy’s use of the term “emotives” to characterize speech acts which are performative in the sense that they are both “self-exploring” and “self-altering”, the article examines the way in which Phillips’s characters navigate between personal feelings and the “strict emotional regime” of slavery.
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Contributor : Kathie Birat <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 12:10:48 PM
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Kathie Birat. Historicising Emotion in Crossing the River by Caryl Phillips. Lectures du monde anglophone, ERIAC - EA 4705, 2018, Inhabiting the Voids of History in the works of Caryl Phillips. ⟨hal-02945455⟩

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