Frink, Stephanie

Emotion, Empathy, and Self-Narration in British Novels since the 1990s

Both narratives and emotions are ubiquitous not only in everyday life, but also in academic discourse. Stories as well as storytelling and phenomena such as empathy have received considerable attention in recent years and interdisciplinary research in this field is clearly proliferating. While there is wide agreement on the close connection between narratives and emotions, describing their relationship seems surprisingly difficult. Despite the impressive number of existing studies on this exciting topic, there are still many unanswered questions, especially from a narratological perspective. Building on categories and concepts from narrative theory, and also considering recent findings and insights from neuroscience and psychology, this book takes a closer look at the intricate link between narratives and emotions. It aims at further exploring the ways in which narrative and emotion are related and how bringing together narrative theory and emotion studies can be advantageous for both disciplines. The emotional value of narrative fiction is highlighted through the close reading of seven first-person novels published at the turn of the 21st century. The focus is threefold: The analyses show (1) how narration functions as a tool for framing and coping with affective experiences and to what extent emotions, in turn, impact basic story constituents, (2) how emotions are manifested in self-narratives at the level of both content and form, and (3) how specific techniques and ways of representation may evoke emotions and feelings of empathy on the part of the reader. Modestly contributing to the emerging field of affective narratology, this book demonstrates that studying the nexus between narrative and emotion is not merely of academic, but also of social relevance.

ISBN 978-3-86821-677-6, 288 S., kt., 34,50 (2016)

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