front cover of HAVING A GOOD CRY
The Ohio State University Press, 2003

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.


front cover of Narrative Theory
Narrative Theory
Core Concepts and Critical Debates
David Herman, James Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz, Brian Richardson, and Robyn Warhol
The Ohio State University Press, 2012

Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates addresses two frequently asked questions about narrative studies: “what is narrative theory?” and “how do different approaches to narrative relate to each other?” In engaging with these questions, the book demonstrates the diversity and vitality of the field and promotes a broader dialogue about its assumptions, methods, and purposes.

In Part One, the co-authors explore the scope and aims of narrative from four distinct perspectives: rhetorical (Phelan and Rabinowitz), feminist (Warhol), mind-oriented (Herman), and unnatural (Richardson). Using case studies (Huckleberry Finn, Persuasion, On Chesil Beach, and Midnight’s Children, respectively), the co-authors explain their different takes on the same core concepts: authors, narrators, narration; plot, time, and progression; space, setting, and perspective; character; reception and the reader; and narrative values. In Part Two, the co-authors respond to one another’s views. As they discuss the relation of the approaches to each other, they highlight significant current debates and map out key developments in the field.
Accessibly written, Narrative Theory can serve as the basis for a wide range of courses, even as its incisive presentation of four major approaches and its lively give-and-take about the powers and limitations of each make the book an indispensable resource for specialists.

front cover of Narrative Theory Unbound
Narrative Theory Unbound
Queer and Feminist Interventions
Robyn Warhol and Susan S. Lanser
The Ohio State University Press, 2015
Under the bold banner of Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions, editors Robyn Warhol and Susan S. Lanser gather a diverse spectrum of queer and feminist challenges to the theory and interpretation of narrative. The first edited collection to bring feminist, queer, and narrative theories into direct conversation with one another, this anthology places gender and sexuality at the center of contemporary theorizing about the production, reception, forms, and functions of narrative texts.   
Through twenty-one essays prefaced by a cogent history of the field, Narrative Theory Unbound offers new perspectives on narrative discourse and its constituent elements; on intersectional approaches that recognize race, religion, and national culture as integral to understanding sexuality and gender; on queer temporalities; on cognitive research; and on lifewriting in graphic, print, and digital constellations. Exploring genres ranging from reality TV to fairy tales to classical fiction, contributors explore the thorny, contested relationships between feminist and queer theory, on the one hand, and between feminist/queer theory and contemporary narratologies, on the other. Rather than aiming for cohesiveness or conclusiveness, the collection stages open-ended debates designed to unbind the assumptions that have kept gender and sexuality on the periphery of narrative theory.

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