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Feeling as Perceptibility and Trembling in Mansfield Park
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 60 credits / 90 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of the investigation is to show that Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is a novel centred on a conflict between feeling understood as represented sentiment and feeling understood as affective immanence. The study uses a phenomenological approach that stands in alignment with Michel Henry’s critique of Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology of transcendence. Attention is drawn to the enmity in Mansfield Park between sensibility’s sentiments and affectivity’s raw feelings. It is suggested that this tension runs through Mansfield Park as an opposition central to its inner structure. It is shown that Fanny Price and Henry Crawford are incompatible on affective rather than moral grounds, and that the focus of the novel is not primarily on the behaviour of characters but on the nature of feeling itself. Mr. Crawford cultivates feeling as something that can be conveniently represented in the world as a world-phenomenon among other world-phenomena, whereas the heroine resists that very understanding of feeling and life. The study delineates the heroine’s struggle against the archetypal man of sentiments not as a prudish struggle against unrestrained erotic passion but as a struggle against a social apparatus for disfiguring the reality of feeling. The essay highlights segments of the literary text that point to a difference between feeling as an interplay of emotions monitored by reason, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, feeling as something with an inner source that is deep and reclusive, withdrawn from the light of the world and from the representational forces of social life. 

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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-77594OAI: diva2:534309
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-12-13 Created: 2012-06-15 Last updated: 2012-12-13Bibliographically approved

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Fredriksson, Tea
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