Feeling in Theory: Emotion after the "Death of the Subject"

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"What starts from a shrewd review of contemporary polemics goes on to take the shape of a theory of emotion of Terada's own, drawn from her analytical reading of poststructuralist writing and of earlier and present-day philosophies of emotion... Terada has produced something excellent and major, both a contribution to poststructuralist theory and its interpretation, and a placing of it in a wider surround." - Cynthia Chase, author of Decomposing Figures

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Because emotion is assumed to depend on subjectivity, the "death of the subject" described by theorists such as Derrida, de Man, and Deleuze would also seem to mean the death of feeling. This work transforms the burgeoning interdisciplinary debate on emotion by suggesting, instead, a positive relation between the "death of the subject" and the very existence of emotion. Reading the writings of Derrida and de Man - theorists often seen as emotionally contradictory and cold - Terada finds grounds for construing emotion as nonsubjective. This project offers fresh interpretations of deconstruction's most important texts, and of Continental and Anglo-American philosophers from Descartes to Deleuze and Dennett. At the same time, it revitalizes poststructuralist theory by deploying its methodologies in a new field, the philosophy of emotion, to reach a startling conclusion: if we really were subjects, we would have no emotions at all.

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