EMOTIONS VOCABULARY AND THE RECONCEPTUALISATION OF EMOTIONS IN ANN RADCLIFFE'S THE ITALIAN, OR THE CONFESSIONAL OF THE BLACK PENITENTS
Web of Science: 000472606700004
Elena D. Andonova-Kalapsazova https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0409-9373
South-West University Neofit Rilski, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
The article undertakes the analysis of Ann Radcliffe's novel The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797) from a history of literary emotions perspective which, I argue, yields insights into the attitudes towards emotions embedded in Radcliffe's works. A reading of the novel from such a perspective also complements the critical studies of the artist's engaging with the eighteenth-century cult of sensibility. The novel is read as a text that registered but also participated in the dissemination of an epistemology of emotional experience articulated in the idiom of eighteenth-century moral philosophers - Francis Hutcheson, David Hume and Adam Smith - at the same time as it retained some of the older, theology-based conceptions of passions and affections. The dynamic in which the two frameworks for understanding the emotions exist in the novel is explored through a close reading of the vocabulary in which Radcliffe rendered the emotional experiences of her fictional characters. In this reading it is the passions which are found to have been invested with a variety of meanings and attributed a range of moral valences that most noticeably foreground the movement from a generally negative towards a more complex appreciation of powerful emotions.
Keywords: Ann Radcliffe, passions, affections, emotions history, moral philosophy
Submitted: 12 March 2019;
Reviewed: 30 March 2019;
Revised: 17 April 2019;
Accepted: 1 May 2019;
Published: 1 June 2019
Andonova-Kalapsazova, E. (2019). Emotions Vocabulary and the Reconceptualisation of Emotions in Ann Radcliffe's The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents, English Studies at NBU, 5(1), 40-58. https://doi.org/10.33919/esnbu.19.1.2
Copyright © 2019 Elena Andonova-Kalapsazova
This open access article is published and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. If you want to use the work commercially, you must first get the authors' permission.
Barker-Benfield, G. J. (1996). The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth Century Britain. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Caron, L. (2015). Thomas Willis, the Restoration and the First Works of Neurology. Medical History, 59(4), 525-553. https://doi.org/10.1017/mdh.2015.45
Chandler, A. (2006). Ann Radcliffe and Natural Theology. Studies in the Novel, 38(2), 133-153.
Cooper, L. A. (2010). Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company.
Cottom, D. (1985). The Civilized Imagination: A Study of Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, and Sir Walter Scott. New York: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511753176
Dixon, Th. (2003). From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490514
Durant, D. (1982). Ann Radcliffe and the Conservative Gothic. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 22(3), 519-530. https://doi.org/10.2307/450245
Frevert, U. (2014). Defining Emotions: Concepts and Debates Over Three Centuries. In U. Frevert & Th. Dixon (Eds), Emotional Lexicons: Continuity and Feeling in the Vocabulary of Feeling 1700–2000 (pp. 1-31). Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655731.003.0001
Gregory, J. A (2008-2009). ``Father's Legacy to His Daughters By D-r Gregory; To Which is Added a Collection of Thoughts on Civil, Moral and Religious Subjects, Calculated to Improve the Minds of Both Sexes. (1796) Retrieved from http://name.umdl.umich.edu/N23083.0001.001
Howells, C. A. (1978). Love, Mystery and Misery: Feeling in Gothic Fiction. London: University of London Athlon Press.
Hume, D. A. (2007). A Treatise of Human Nature. In D. F. Norton & M. J. Norton (Eds.) The Clarendon Edition of the Works of David Hume, Vol. 1: Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oseo/instance.00032872
Hutcheson, F. (2002). Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passion and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense (1742). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. Retrieved from http://lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com/titles/885/Hutcheson_0150_EBk_v6.0.pdf
James, S. (1997). Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Mayhew, R. (2002). Latitudinarianism and the Novels of Ann Radcliffe. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 44(3), 273-301. https://doi.org/10.1353/tsl.2002.0015
Mckenzie, Al. T. (1990). Certain Lively Episodes: The Articulation of passion in Eighteenth Century Prose. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press.
Miles, R. (1995). Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.
Pinch, A. (1996) Strange Fits of Passion: Epistemologies of Emotion, Hume to Austen. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
Radcliffe, A. (2008a). The Mysteries of Udolpho. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Radcliffe, A. (2008b). The Italian or the Confessional of the Black Penitents. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (References are to this edition).
Rictor, N. (1999). Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe. London and New York: Leicester University Press.
Ross, D. (1991). The Excellence of Falsehood: Romance, Realism and Women's Contribution to the Novel. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.
Smith, A. (2004). The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, N. (1973). Sense, Sensibility and Ann Radcliffe. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 13(4), 577-590. https://doi.org/10.2307/449801
Taylor, M. (1991). Reluctant Romancers: Self-Consciousness and Derogation in Prose Romance. English Studies in Canada, 17(1), 89-105. https://doi.org/10.1353/esc.1991.0042
Watt, J. (2014). Ann Radcliffe and Politics. In D. Townsend & A. Wright (Eds), Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic (pp. 67-82). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139507448.006
1. Reviewer's name: Tadd Graham Fernée, PhD, New Bulgarian University
Publons Reviewer Profile
Review Verified on Publons
The article analyses Anne Radcliffe's The Italian from a history of emotions perspective that makes interesting use of the text and secondary sources, as well as philosophical and biographical sources. It advances a compelling depiction of 18th century social transitions in values, resulting from the secularizing force of the expanding public sphere. This is a thought provoking and well-organized investigation of social transitions in values reflected in literary, philosophical, biographical and, to a lesser extent, historical source materials. It makes good use of philosophical texts – foremost, the 18th century British Moral Philosophers, but also Christian philosophers like Saint Augustine. The article uses interesting biographical material which give a clearer image of Radcliffe’s family and social context.
The author shows that Radcliffe's The Italian embodies the 18th century reconceptualization of emotional experience articulated through a changing emotional vocabulary. These shifts from theological underpinnings (Innocence/corruption; Obedience/punishment; Sensitive/Animal soul) to new secular domains of medicine, psychology and physiology were manifested in the 18th century "Cult of Sensibility". The writer interestingly demonstrates that Radcliffe did not positively affirm the "Cult of Sensibility", but intimately explored the everyday social textures of intertwining new and older emotional vocabularies (i.e. theological and modern elements) manifest in the terminological heterogeneity of a conceptual state of flux. The writer then argues that changing meanings of the "passions" reveal a value transition from ontological meanings (i.e. Sins entailing Punishment) to passions as harboring variable good and bad significance intelligible within a consequentialist and secular universal framework (i.e. human nature, moral sense, etc.) This is indeed an interesting argument, and it is very well documented through the sources.
My only suggestion is that the writer step back somewhat from their own research findings to venture some broader theoretical implications for either literature, society or values, perhaps in a short conclusion. What do these striking changes mean for the human condition, or at least for the European milieu under discussion, and perhaps other societies then locked into the dynamic matrix of modernizing European societies? One thread in the writer’s argument that struck me was how Radcliffe pioneered the Gothic, a genre known for exploring the dissolution of fixed borders. This process of identity and value dissolution and reconstitution, using variable and conflicting "vocabularies", manifesting multiple and overlapping historical temporalities, seemed to be one core insight of the article. However, the author did not explicitly extract the implications of this "poetics" in Radcliffe in terms of its possible implications of the Gothic as a new revolution in modern literature and aesthetics.
2. Reviewer's name: Undisclosed
Review Content: Undisclosed
Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov
Verified Editor Record on Publons: https://publons.com/p/18029648