Culture-Specific Emotions and Literature

The implementation of the project is divided into three subprojects which contribute to the project’s objectives of understanding culturally shaped emotions and literature and of developing new methods and research practices to the study of literature and emotions. We use a combination of methods to target various affective elements and effects of texts to provide a nuanced view of the complexity of emotions in our corpus.

1. Culture-Specific Poetics of Emotions

This subproject elaborates on theory and concepts of literature and culture-specific emotions. We study the general linguistic modalities of eliciting emotions in our corpus and confront the results with previous research on emotion-eliciting aspects in human perception and cognition. Historical case studies of Finnish literature and emotions are analyzed to understand how the emotions evoked in our corpus relate to language-specific features and how cultural conditions have modified these emotions.

2. Mood and Sentiment Analysis

This subproject focuses on the understanding of the role of tone and mood in texts and innovates digital methods of studying textual tones. A central assumption of the project is that moods in texts are crucial elements in the creation of emotion effects. In conjunction with traditional close-reading of texts we test and elaborate digital methods of studying moods in texts. We study how textual moods relate to culture, and how historical and local affective atmospheres have shaped these moods.

3. Cultural Emotions in Reading

This subproject focuses on emotional communities, cultural loneliness, narrative empathy, and the empirical study of readers’ responses to narratives and poems by implementing three reading group studies. The reading groups are based on selected case studies, which are cross-analyzed by other methods in the subprojects 1 and 2. The reading group studies are organized in collaboration with HelsinkiMissio and the northernmost municipal library in Finland, Pedar Jalvi.