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Having a Good Cry: Effeminate Feelings and Pop-Culture Forms

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Robyn R. Warhol's goal is to investigate the effects of readers' emotional responses to formulaic fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on gendered subjectivity. She argues that modern literary and cultural studies have ignored nonsexual affectivity in their inquiries. The book elaborates on Warhol's theory of affect and then focuses on sentimental stories, mar Robyn R. Warhol's goal is to investigate the effects of readers' emotional responses to formulaic fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on gendered subjectivity. She argues that modern literary and cultural studies have ignored nonsexual affectivity in their inquiries. The book elaborates on Warhol's theory of affect and then focuses on sentimental stories, marriage plots, serialized novels, and soap operas as distinct genres producing specific feelings among fans. Popular narrative forms use formulas to bring up familiar patterns of feelings in the audiences who love them. This book looks at the patterns of feelings that some nineteenth- and twentieth-century popular genres evoke, and asks how those patterns are related to gender. Soap operas and sentimentalism are generally derided as "effeminate" forms because their emotional range is seen as hyperfeminine. Having a Good Cry presents a celebration of effeminate feelings and works toward promoting more flexible, less pejorative concepts of gender. Using a psychophysiological rather than a psychoanalytic approach to reading and emotion, Warhol seeks to make readers more conscious of what is happening to the gendered body when we read.


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Robyn R. Warhol's goal is to investigate the effects of readers' emotional responses to formulaic fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on gendered subjectivity. She argues that modern literary and cultural studies have ignored nonsexual affectivity in their inquiries. The book elaborates on Warhol's theory of affect and then focuses on sentimental stories, mar Robyn R. Warhol's goal is to investigate the effects of readers' emotional responses to formulaic fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on gendered subjectivity. She argues that modern literary and cultural studies have ignored nonsexual affectivity in their inquiries. The book elaborates on Warhol's theory of affect and then focuses on sentimental stories, marriage plots, serialized novels, and soap operas as distinct genres producing specific feelings among fans. Popular narrative forms use formulas to bring up familiar patterns of feelings in the audiences who love them. This book looks at the patterns of feelings that some nineteenth- and twentieth-century popular genres evoke, and asks how those patterns are related to gender. Soap operas and sentimentalism are generally derided as "effeminate" forms because their emotional range is seen as hyperfeminine. Having a Good Cry presents a celebration of effeminate feelings and works toward promoting more flexible, less pejorative concepts of gender. Using a psychophysiological rather than a psychoanalytic approach to reading and emotion, Warhol seeks to make readers more conscious of what is happening to the gendered body when we read.

34 review for Having a Good Cry: Effeminate Feelings and Pop-Culture Forms

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    Well, for what I'm interested in academically/dissertationally, this isn't my bag. However, it is super interesting and well written, so I enjoyed it. (My nerd status is becoming cemented, isn't it?) Robyn--yes, I know her, too; she looks sort of like an older, funky academic version of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada--does feminist narratology (long story), so this text, like her others, is concerned with issues of that nature. Her main argument goes something like this: reading is a phys Well, for what I'm interested in academically/dissertationally, this isn't my bag. However, it is super interesting and well written, so I enjoyed it. (My nerd status is becoming cemented, isn't it?) Robyn--yes, I know her, too; she looks sort of like an older, funky academic version of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada--does feminist narratology (long story), so this text, like her others, is concerned with issues of that nature. Her main argument goes something like this: reading is a physical act. It produces physical reactions, like, as the title suggests, crying, but also, facial expressions, quickened breathing, etc. These are called feelings. (She argues successfully for WHY we should call these things feelings, instead of something else, too.) Some of these feelings have been enculturated to be gendered. (She actually makes a brilliant case for the various complications dealing with sex v. gender v. sexuality; therefore, she argues that these feelings are not gendered to be "female" but instead effeminate, though without a negative connotation to the term.) Then she argues how certain narrative types--serials, marriage plots, soap operas, etc.--are designed to elicit these feelings from us, which then perpetuates the cycle of these pop culture forms being "consumed" by effeminate "consumers" which only keeps the cycle going of why, say, soap operas are "for women." Her close reading of Pretty Woman is spot on (though, at this point, any one who's ever heard of Judith Butler et. al and/or has half a brain can probably do a feminist critique of Julia and Richard's movie), and the amount of scholarship out there on soap operas--the shows themselves, the viewers, etc. is mind-boggling. This was a quick and easy book of the day. Again, not super useful for my work, except the idea of the act of reading producing physical effects in readers. Oh, and she talks about orgasms. So that's fun.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    Robyn Warhol attempts to conceive of how reading feels in the body. She forwards a performative theory of reading emotion in which we do not have real and fake feelings (modernist theory of interiority) but in which the physical act itself constitutes the emotion. Concentrates on 19th and 20th century serial pop culture forms. Trollope and Palliser novels.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Read for uni 1st book of 2nd (sort of) iso. Some interesting points, let down by some aspects not ageing well. First two chapters were bussin.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesi

    Loved this even more the second time around. It's a little clunky in some places and I don't think it pursues the implications of its arguments as far as it could. But it seems so useful (especially for thinking about fandom and pop culture) and it was really fun to read. Loved this even more the second time around. It's a little clunky in some places and I don't think it pursues the implications of its arguments as far as it could. But it seems so useful (especially for thinking about fandom and pop culture) and it was really fun to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Super helpful re: concept of performativity of feeling and seriality

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  10. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zack

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura Wallace

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  18. 4 out of 5

    Clayborn

  19. 4 out of 5

    polyxana

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nazire

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshlynn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick Frangipane

  26. 5 out of 5

    Delia Byrnes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janet Morris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Smithsonian Libraries

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wolf Ostheeren

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

  31. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  32. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

  33. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

  34. 4 out of 5

    Roberto

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