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Uncomfortable SituationsEmotion between Science and the Humanities$
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Daniel M. Gross

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226485034

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226485171.001.0001

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Hostile Environments in Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest

Hostile Environments in Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest

(p.77) 3 Hostile Environments in Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest
Uncomfortable Situations

Daniel M. Gross

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 3 continues to make the case for a literary mode—the sentimental—while explaining what sort of things happen when the genre shifts from literary nonfiction—that is, the slave narrative, to the Gothic novel. The chapter provides the next case study where this time the environments, technically understood with the help of perceptual psychologist J. J. Gibson, make people terribly uncomfortable to the point of becoming unhinged. This chapter on the environment serves as a particular kind of ecocriticism, while at the same time energetically distinguishing itself from "literary Darwinism" and related versions of literary criticism where the ancient environment of evolutionary psychology exerts undue pressure on the scene. Here instead of evolutionary psychology, the perceptual psychology of Gibson provides the basic definition of an environment. The chapter also shows how some literary criticism that falls under the heading of Cognitive Approaches—including work by Elaine Scarry, cognitive rhetoric à la George Lakoff, and David Herman who practices Umwelt research—already benefits from an environmental approach referencing Gibson.

Keywords:   sentimental literature, gothic, ecocriticism, evolutionary psychology, Literary Darwinism, Ann Radcliffe, J. J. Gibson, Elaine Scarry, Jonathan Kramnick, David Herman

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