From Love to Grief
Edited By Wojciech Drąg and Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak
Dominika Ferens - Belated Interest: Reading the Fiction of Sigrid Nunez through Silvan Tomkins’s Affect Theory
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University of Wrocław
Belated Interest: Reading the Fiction of Sigrid Nunez through Silvan Tomkins’s Affect Theory
This article examines the dramatic interplay of two affects, interest and shame, in the fiction of Sigrid Nunez. Often classified as an Asian American writer,1 Nunez makes no effort to reject the label, yet much of her work tends to focus not on minority communities or race relations but on the affects that drive interpersonal relations. After testing the literary potential of affects on a small scale in the story “Chang” (1993), Nunez undertook several extended explorations of affects in A Feather on the Breath of God (1995), Naked Sleeper (1996), For Rouenna (2001), and The Last of Her Kind (2006). With the exception of A Feather, Nunez’s novels tend to feature racially unmarked or white protagonists, as if color would needlessly detract from affect, which cuts across race.2
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