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The Forms of the Affects Paperback – March 21, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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"Stylistics" (so-called) to one side, the argument Brinkema advances is clear, thoughtful, and, indeed, new: affect is formal. Brinkema thus sets herself up against a range of affect theorists, largely comprising Deleuzians of the Massumi variant, who have extolled affect as an alternative (unruly, undisciplined, wild) substance to discourse, language, symbol, form, etc. This is why her argument entails a return to close readings.
Brinkema does not necessarily present her book (in its introduction or in the chapter that explicitly reads Freud and Lacan) as a psychoanalytic argument, yet there is no denying that much of what she argues is in strong concordance with and can be read profitably as an elaboration and extension of Freudian-Lacanian theories of affect.
One qualm I have is that Brinkema dismisses in some haste the connection between affect and embodiment (see, for example, her comments on the etymology of "horror" and the way she strikes a distance from it). She wishes to recover affect as formal, but in doing so tends to relegate to the body all the properties of the old affect: extra/non-linguistic, undisciplined, wild..., rather than dispelling this illusion of an "other side" of discourse. It surely seems evident that affect is an integral component of embodiment-- at least our embodiment, if not other creatures'-- and this suggests reason to tread more slowly.