Emotions and Narrative in Jane Austen and Henry James
In fields as diverse as philosophy, psychology and anthropology, there has been an enormous outpouring of research on the emotions in the last ten to fifteen years. In literary studies, however, emotions are a surprisingly neglected topic. This study explores the relationship between feelings, narrative and identity. The author examines the links between these three concepts and contrasts them with what three great English novels can teach us about feelings. Traversing Emma, The Portrait of a Lady, and The Golden Bowl, the author argues that narrative has a unique role in psychological explanation: it is the stuff both emotion and personal identity are made of. And he shows how the experience of strong emotions changes who we are by altering the stories we tell about ourselves. Jürg Meier studied English Literature, Philosophy and Musicology at the Universities of Zürich and Berkeley.