In their introduction to this useful essay collection, Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa schematize affect as “a stage in a process of triggering” (4). They understand affect as an ontologically unstable potentiality that can be formally provoked through artistic, literary, and social forms. Form sparks affect—this is the claim made in Eugenie Brinkema's influential formalist polemic, The Forms of the Affects (2014). When affect is activated by form, it unfolds and operates; it does things. Affect begets cognitive outcomes such as thoughts, emotions, ideology, and identity. It can therefore do ethically and politically consequential things. Thirteen scholarly contributions are organized into sections corresponding to these three stages: form, affect, effect.

As contributor Jan Slaby points out, this basic yet sturdy framework accords with the view of affect in cultural theory as a “forceful processuality” that territorializes in social arrangements and cultural practices (61). Bernd Herzogenrath harkens back to...

You do not currently have access to this content.