Emotions through Literature
Fictional Narratives, Society and the Emotional Self
Engaging with the wide sociological literature on emotions, this book explores the social representation of emotions, their management and their effects by making reference to creative sources. With a specific focus on literary narrative, including the works of figures such as Dante, Austen, Manzoni, Tolstoy and Kundera, the author draws out the capacity of literary works to describe and represent both the external aspects of social relations and the inner motivations of the involved actors. An interdisciplinary study that combines sociology, narratology, philosophy, historical analysis and literary criticism, Emotions through Literature invites us to re-think the role of emotions in sociological analysis, employing literary narratives to give plausible intellectual responses to the double nature of emotions, their being both individual and social.
Table of Contents
1. By Way of Introduction. A Sociology of Emotions through Literature 2. Sociology and Emotions. An Overview 3. Emotions and their History. A Sociological Perspective 4. Emotions and Literature 5. Action, Emotions and Emotional Control. A Reading of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral 6. The Emotional Crowd 7. Envy, Social Order and Social Change 8. Of Love, its Semantic and its Social Function References
Mariano Longo is Full Professor of Sociology at the University of Salento, Italy, and author of Fiction and Social Reality: Literature and Narratives as Sociological Resources.
"Mariano Longo has brought the sociology of emotions vividly alive in this sharp and penetrating analysis, skilfully incorporating portrayals of a wide range of people and passions figuring in literature from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to Roth’s Seymoure Levov. Longo covers his field in a masterly way, showing how emotions, initially present in nineteenth-century sociology, then pushed aside to make way for relentless rationality, finally returned in a big way during the late 1970s. The exciting prospects opened up by focusing on emotions are triangulated by drawing on the perceptive insights of experts such as Norbert Elias, William Reddy, Peter Stearns, Susan Matt, Richard Moran, Dorrit Cohn, Donald Weslig, Arlie Hochschild, and Sandra Logan. Longo moves expertly between smart generalizations on modernity, consumerism, the neurosciences, collective behaviour, social change, love, and crowd behaviour to detailed dissections of specific works by Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens, Zola, Manzoni and many others. There is rich sustenance here. It will stimulate beginners and challenge specialists." - Dennis Smith, author of ‘Civilized Rebels: An Inside Story of the West's Retreat from Global Power’, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Loughborough University, UK
"Because novels and poems name the emotions, putting them into narrative action, literature has always been the home territory of emotion. Now, venturing all the way across the bridge to verbal art from his own discipline of sociology, Mariano Longo shows that a major future assignment of this crossover field will be to specify with stronger theories how emotions are always relationships: social between persons, changeable in historical time. First he offers a critique of the history of sociology, where from circa 1900 to 2019 there has been a steadily growing acceptance that emotions have a rational, historical explanation as part of social change. Next he analyzes a broad in