Affective Narratology


Affective Narratology

The Emotional Structure of Stories

Patrick Colm Hogan

Frontiers of Narrative Series

304 pages


November 2011


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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November 2011


$60.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Stories engage our emotions. We’ve known this at least since the days of Plato and Aristotle. What this book helps us to understand now is how our own emotions fundamentally organize and orient stories. In light of recent cognitive research and wide reading in different narrative traditions, Patrick Colm Hogan argues that the structure of stories is a systematic product of human emotion systems. Examining the ways in which incidents, events, episodes, plots, and genres are a function of emotional processes, he demonstrates that emotion systems are absolutely crucial for understanding stories.

Hogan also makes a case for the potentially integral role that stories play in the development of our emotional lives. He provides an in-depth account of the function of emotion within story—in widespread genres with romantic, heroic, and sacrificial structures, and more limited genres treating parent/child separation, sexual pursuit, criminality, and revenge—as these appear in a variety of cross-cultural traditions. In the course of the book Hogan develops interpretations of works ranging from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to African oral epics, from Sanskrit comedy to Shakespearean tragedy.

Integrating the latest research in affective science with narratology, this book provides a powerful explanatory account of narrative organization.

Author Bio

Patrick Colm Hogan is a professor in the Department of English in the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies and in the Program in Cognitive Science at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Understanding Nationalism: On Narrative, Cognitive Science, and Identity.


"I have no hesitation to call Patrick Hogan one of the most interesting scholars in literary theory."—Willie van Peer, Scientific Study of Literature

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Passion for Plot
1. Before Stories: Emotional Time and Anna Karenina
2. Stories and Works: From Ancient Egypt to Postmodernism
3. Universal Narrative Prototypes: Sacrifice, Heroism, and Romantic Love
4. Cross-Cultural Minor Genres: Attachment, Lust, Revenge, and Criminal Justice
 Afterword: Stories and the Training of Sensibility
 Works Cited

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