In the wake of the linguistic turn, scholars have turned to affect and to aesthetics to account for textual experiences that exceed critical frameworks of representation and critique. Bringing formalist analysis and affect theory to bear on one another, recent works of literary, art, and film criticism by C. Namwali Serpell, renée c. hoogland, and Eugenie Brinkema develop methodologies for exploring how the arts move us — how they impress themselves upon our bodies and create effects in the world. Adding to the current conversation about postcritical reading, surface reading, distant reading, and other methodological developments, these works offer methods for illuminating the relationship between form and feeling: neo-phenomenology, retelling, and close reading. By analyzing the relationship between affect and aesthetics across genres of art, this essay argues, we can expand the category of reading to better understand the temporal, spatial, and sensory encounter between text and audience.

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