Forms of Affect, Relationality, and Periodical Encounters, or ‘Pine-Apple for the Million’

  • Fionnuala Dillane University College Dublin


The social, economic, intellectual, cultural, and material relations that comprise periodical encounters have been attended to in analyses that invoke the concept of the network, what Nathan Hensley has described as a ‘chain of visible or material interactions among human and nonhuman entities’. The affective dimensions of these relations, however, are neither material nor always visible, yet they are fundamental to all such interactions. This article argues that the periodical’s capacity to communicate, the contours, scope, and effects of that capacity, and in particular its genre traction, are everywhere underscored by a relationality that is charged with affect and emotions, shaped by what Raymond Williams famously described as ‘structures of feeling’. My focus on the haptic currents that drive periodical exchanges (taking examples from George Eliot at the Cornhill Magazine, Joseph Conrad in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, and James Joyce in the Irish Homestead) follows from important theorizations of the unique affordances of this ‘most time-oriented of print forms’ (Beetham). Affect, feelings, and emotive responses are messy and cannot be pressed into a discrete methodology, but when considering the open-ended, multi-textured, serial form that is the periodical, there is something to be gained, I suggest, from trying to understand the operations of affect, its openness, its aleatoric potential, and its emotion-based effects.

Author Biography

Fionnuala Dillane, University College Dublin
Fionnuala Dillane is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature at the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin. She researches and publishes in the fields of Victorian print cultures, genre history, memory studies, and gender. Most recent work is forthcoming in: the Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century British Periodicals and Newspapers: Volume 2, Case Studies, edited by Alexis Easley, Andrew King, and John Morton (Ashgate); Journalism and the Periodical Press, edited by Joanne Shattock (Cambridge University Press); and The Body in Pain in Irish Literature and Culture, co-edited with Naomi McAreavey and Emilie Pine (Palgrave). Her monograph, Before George Eliot: Marian Evans and the Periodical Press (Cambridge University Press), joint winner of the Robert and Vineta Colby Prize for 2014, was published in paperback in 2016.
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