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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3F39B

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Feeling Subjects: Sensibility's Mobius Strip and the Public-Private Subject in Later Eighteenth-Century British Fiction Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Sensibility
Eighteenth-Century
Fiction
British
Subjectivity
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
McNeill-Bindon, Susan Colleen
Supervisor and department
Binhammer, Katherine (English and Film Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Oakleaf, David (English, University of Calgary)
Kelly, Gary (English and Film Studies
Demers, Patricia (English and Film Studies)
Schmitter, Amy (Philosophy)
Department
Department of English and Film Studies
Specialization

Date accepted
2009-09-01T20:39:36Z
Graduation date
2009-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Feeling Subjects investigates sensibility in relation to the production of subjectivity in the later eighteenth century. It creates a model of sensibility as a discursive space bringing together literary, philosophical, and medical understandings of feeling. It argues that sensibility’s discursive space produces experiential subjects in an ongoing, dynamic project of negotiating between the internalization of public experiences and the projection of private feelings and thoughts. It invokes the three-dimensional image of the Möbius strip to envision inner/private and external/public expressions of feeling as inseparable, yet distinct elements that help to produce the feeling subject. This model of sensibility represents a new theory of subjectivity in the later eighteenth-century where the literary subject and the social community that surrounds him or her are both co-constitutive and co-destructive and where the traditional binaries are challenged in a model that sees every character as simultaneously a public and private subject. The aim of the project is to show that the legacies of rational men and emotional women which have occupied scholars of the eighteenth century for much of the last fifty years suggest a much more cohesive understanding of gender and its connection to subjectivity than is revealed in much of the fiction of sensibility in the period. Feeling Subjects offers a theory of sensibility that is not inherently gendered, and that focuses on how individuals experience themselves in relation to the world around them while simultaneously generating that world. The project is divided into two halves which enact the Möbius model of private and public feeling. The first half focuses on the personally and socially productive potential of sensibility in The Adventures of David Simple, The History of Ophelia, The Vicar of Wakefield, and The Fool of Quality. The second half examines the increasingly negative expression of sensibility in A Simple Story, Secresy, The Natural Daughter, and Zofloya. Throughout Feeling Subjects, sensibility is not just a word denoting the expression of feeling, but a discursive space through which to experience the tensions and interrelations between public and private thought and feeling in theories of socialization in the later eighteenth-century novel.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3F39B
Rights
License granted by Susan McNeill-Bindon (susanm@ualberta.ca) on 2009-08-31T21:17:44Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Feeling Subjects: Sensibility���s M��bius Strip and the Public-Private Subject in Later Eighteenth-Century British Fiction
File title: Feeling Subjects: Sensibility???s M??bius Strip and the Public-Private Subject in Later Eighteenth-Century British Fiction
File title: Feeling Subjects: Sensibilitys Mbius Strip and the Public-Private Subject in Later Eighteenth-Century British Fiction
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