English Department | University of Texas | Arlington

Shipwreck, Immersion, and a Great Sea of Joys Abstract

Affect theory and the blue humanities are discrete yet related fields of study, but what informs this connection? In this paper, I provide a close reading of Shakespeare and Wilkins’s Pericles to reveal how effectively the text’s watery images reflect or embody the main characters’ affective ecologies—suggesting tropology as one aspect of the link between affective ecologies and blue humanities thinking. Affect—through its association with the flow suggested by aqueous tropes—merges seamlessly with the coalescence of poetic language, water as phenomenon, and cultural significance that forms the basis of the blue humanities. I argue that a conjunction of memory and experience makes the representation of emotion accessible and compelling. This paper analyzes Pericles not only in conjunction with blue humanities thinking, affect theory, and tropology, but also shows how these theories enable us to understand the depth of emotion of the play and how characters and audience alike can be experience and share affect.