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'Sending a gush to the eyes' - Tears and Tender Affection in the Victorian Discourses on Emotions

Dienstag, 20. Juni 2017 - 17:00
Ort: 
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Large Conference Room
Host: 
Center for the History of Emotions
Kontakt: 
Christina Becher, sekfrevert@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially invites all interested to attend its summer semester 2017 colloquium.

Gesa Stedman, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

'Sending a gush to the eyes' - Tears and Tender Affection in the Victorian Discourses on Emotion

The Victorian discourses on emotions oscillate between the need to express the emotions, and the equally dominant need to control them. Literary texts negotiate this particular divide and offer a complex range of emotional positions for the readers to emulate. Tears play a special role in this negotiation process. Depending on the context, they may express 'dangerous passion' or the socially and culturally sanctified 'tender affection'. In her talk, Gesa Stedman will explain which functions tears, tender affection and 'dangerous passion' have in the development of a middle-class habitus and how this heavily gendered habitus is translated into literary terms in the 19th century.

Gesa Stedman is professor of British Culture and Literature and deputy director of the Centre for British Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research interests include cultural exchange studies, the contemporary literary fields in the UK, France and Germany, and historical discourses of emotions. She has published widely on emotions history, e.g. Stemming the Torrent - Expression and Control in the Victorian Discourses on Emotion, Ashgate: 2002, ed. (with I. Kasten/M. Zimmermann), Kulturen der Gefühle in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit, Metzler: 2002. Gesa Stedman co-directs the international and interdisciplinary research networks Writing 1900 and the Berlin-Britain Research Network and runs the website The Literary Field Kaleidoscope with her colleague Dr Sandra van Lente.