chapter  5
13 Pages

Beyond the personal and the individual

Reconsidering the role of emotion in literature learning
WithAmanda Haertling Thein

In the early decades of the 20th century, the New Critics aimed to develop objective methods for studying literature by separating emotion from literary criticism. In response to New Critical approaches to literature pedagogy, reader response and personal growth models of literature pedagogy emerged in the 20th century. Contemporary literature pedagogy grounded in critical literacy and sociocultural theories of reader response strives to engage students in literature study with the goal of exploring and critiquing ways that characters' identities and experiences are socially and culturally constructed and shaped via institutional and systemic power structures. A primary way in which sociocultural theories of emotion associated with Critical Emotion Studies reconceptualize emotion in literature pedagogy and learning is by revealing the ways in which emotion is always already a part of any social context. It includes the literature classroom, structuring the kinds of interactions people have, the ways in which people position themselves, and the kinds of discourses that are sanctioned.