Forms of Emotion : Human to Nonhuman in Drama, Theatre and Contemporary Performance book cover
1st Edition

Forms of Emotion
Human to Nonhuman in Drama, Theatre and Contemporary Performance

ISBN 9780367644970
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
266 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

Forms of Emotion analyses how drama, theatre and contemporary performance present emotion and its human and nonhuman diversity.

This book explores the emotions, emotional feelings, mood, and affect, which make up a spectrum of ‘emotion’, to illuminate theatrical knowledge and practice and reflect the distinctions and debates in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines. This study asserts that specific forms of emotion are intentionally unified in drama, theatre, and performance to convey meaning, counteract separation and subversively champion emotional freedom. The book progressively shows that the dramatic and theatrical representation of the nonhuman reveals how human dominance is offset by emotional connection with birds, animals, and the natural environment.

This book will be of great interest to students and researchers interested in the emotions and affect in dramatic literature, theatre studies, performance studies, psychology, and philosophy as well as artists working with emotionally expressive performance.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Forms of Emotion

Chapter Summaries

Framing the Emotions, Emotional Feelings, Mood and Affect

Performing Is Not Feeling that Emotion

Chapter one: Affect Theory and Performance Intention

Performance Distinctions

Feeling Divided

Affect Currents

Contested Intentions

Live Performance – In Theory

Impersonal Affect and Personal Feeling

Presence and Transmission


Formless Affect and Aesthetic Form

Chapter two: Judging Pity, Fear and Humanness

Pity and Fear in Action

Fear of Shame

Opposition Shocks

Wonder and Catharsis

Social Obedience

Mimetic Natures

Towards Compassion

Fear and Animalness


Chapter three: Appraising Emotional Feeling

Talk of Feeling

Navigating Obstruction

Substitute Passions

Appraisal of Emotional Feeling

Ugly Metaphor

Inexplicable Feeling

Cruel Structures of Colonized Feeling

Chapter four: Performing Moods, Tears and Bodily Phenomena

Theatrical Exchange

Modernist Convergence

Acting an Inner Self

Imagined spaces of Longing and Happiness

Doing Bodily Affect

Performing Freedom

Unifying Aesthetic Moods

Chapter five: Political Belief and Social Cognition of Emotions

Contesting Courage

Acting Science and the Brain–Body

Trauma’s Affect

Unifying Empathy

Theatre’s Emotional Economy

Emotional Feeling as Belief




Chapter six: En/Acting Diverse Emotional Freedoms

Rule-breaking Paradox

Love’s Force Fields

Human Right to Emotional Feeling

Politics of Fear

Rage Against Postemotional Denial

Theatrical Freedoms

Chapter seven: Animals and Anthropocentric Emotionalism

Comic Surrogates

Tragic Symbols

Sensory Body Insensitivity

Performing Emotional Connections

Chapter eight: Enveloping the Nonhuman: Contemporary Indigenous Performance

Collaborating Traditions

Continuities in Storytelling

Bodily Perceiving Movement

Unity in Bangarra’s Dark Emu

Enveloping Affect and Emotional Movement

Feeling Knowledge and Nonhuman Time

Chapter nine: Prosodies of Affect and Emotional Climates


Weather Worlds




Conclusion: Sharing





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Peta Tait is Professor of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University, Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.