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Donald Wesling

Joys and Sorrows of Imaginary Persons is a literary approach to consciousness where Donald Wesling denies that emotion is the scandal or handmaid of reason—rather emotion is the co-creator with reason of human life in the world. Discoveries in neuro-science in the 1990s Decade of the Brain have proven that thinking and feeling are wrapped with each other, and regulate and fulfill each other. Accepting this co-creative equality, we reveal a new role for literature, or a traditional role we’ve repressed: literature as a set of processes in time where we’ve thought feeling through stories about the lives of imaginary persons. We need these stories in order to practice emotions for when we return to the world from reading. Donald Wesling argues that to be more accurate in our dealings with stories, we require a grammar of this new recognition, where we build up traditional stylistics by a more careful tracking of emotion-states as these are set into writing.
The first half of Joys and Sorrows of Imaginary Persons offers a creative stock-taking of the current state of scholarship on emotion, based on wide reading in several fields. The second half gives three focused studies, rich in examples, of emotion as cognition, as story, and as historical structure of feeling.

Culture, Creativity and Environment

New Environmentalist Criticism

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Edited by Ian Beckett and Terry Gifford

Culture, Creativity and Environment: New Environmentalist Criticism is a collection of new work which examines the intersection between philosophy, literature, visual art, film and the environment at a time of environmental crisis. This book is unusual in the way in which the ‘imaginative’, ‘creative’, element is privileged, notwithstanding the creativity of rigorous cultural criticism. Genuinely interdisciplinary, this book aims to be inclusive in its discussions of diverse cultural media (different literary genres, art forms and film for instance), which offer thoughtful and thought-provoking critiques of our relationships with the environment. Our ability to transcend the ethical and aesthetic categories and discourses that have contributed to our alienation from our environment is dependant upon an enlargement of our imaginative capacities. In a modest way this book might contribute to what Ted Hughes, speaking of the imagination of each new child, described as “nature’s chance to correct culture’s error”.