Abstract

I explore a tension between divergent ways of reading the blush: on the one hand, physiological, as an instinctive bodily response composed of waves of nervous discharge, capillary dilation, and affect, on the other hand, narratological, as a key to inner character, its meaning unfolded over time through an interplay of temperament and circumstance. This tension surfaces in novels, natural history, and medicine over the course of nineteenth century. How were narratives of emotional character, centered on individual development or decay, bonds of affection or antipathy, sustained and transformed in relation to models of the emotional body as a reflex mechanism, an interiority of vaso-motor response, a storm of suppressed memory?

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 281-301
Launched on MUSE
2016-09-06
Open Access
No
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