Passion's Fictions from Shakespeare to Richardson: Literature and the Sciences of Soul and Mind

ISBN : 9780198869177

Benedict S. Robinson
272 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Passion's Fictions traces the intimate links between literature and the sciences of mind and soul from the age of Shakespeare to the rise of the novel. It chronicles the emergence of new sciences of the passions between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and it argues that this history was shaped by rhetoric that contained the most extensively particularized discourse on the passions, offering principles for moving and affecting the passions of others in concrete social scenes. This rhetoric of the passions centered on narrative as the instrument of a non-theoretical knowledge of the passions in their particularity, predicated on an account of passion as an intimate relation between an impassioned mind and an impassioning world: rhetoric offers a kind of externalist psychology, formalized in the relation of passion to action and underwriting an account of narrative as a means of both moving passion and knowing it. This volume describes the psychology of the passions before the discipline of psychology, tracing the influence of rhetoric on theories of the passions from Francis Bacon to Adam Smith and using that history to read literary works by Shakespeare, Milton, Haywood, Richardson, and others. Narrative offers a means of knowing and moving the passions by tracing them to the events and objects that generate them; the history of narrative practices is thus a key part of the history of the psychology of the passions at a critical moment in its development.


PART I: Outward Soul
1 Passion's Intentions
2 The Accidents of the Soul
PART II: The Rhetoric of the Passions and the Sciences of the Mind
3 The Rhetoric of the Passions
4 The Springs of the Soul
5 The Art of Moving
PART III: Passion's Fictions
6 Passion's Fictions


Benedict S. Robinson is the author of Islam and Early Modern English Literature: The Politics of Romance from Spenser to Milton (Palgrave, 2007) and the editor of John Webster's The White Devil (Arden, 2019). His essays have appeared in ELH, Shakespeare Quarterly, SEL, and elsewhere. He is currently preparing an edition of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra for Arden Shakespeare and writing a literary and cultural history of resentment, one part of which is forthcoming from PMLA.