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The blush: literary and psychological perspectives

Crozier, Walter Ray 2016. The blush: literary and psychological perspectives. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 46 (4) , pp. 502-516. 10.1111/jtsb.12105

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Literary analysis of the blush in Austen's novels identifies three themes, namely the potential ambiguity of a blush, its association with modesty, and its erotic and gendered nature, issues that scarcely figure in current psychological explanations of the phenomenon. I examine these themes and compare them with current psychological accounts which assign a central place to embarrassment and, more specifically, emphasise either unwanted social attention, exposure of the self, or the blush's signalling function. Analysis of Austen's work suggests that greater attention should be paid to self-consciousness as it relates to threats to reputation, to the erotic dimension of the blush, and to potential gender differences. It should encourage researchers to be aware of limitations of psychological accounts and to expand their range of sources of information in order to enhance understanding of this elusive phenomenon.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Uncontrolled Keywords: blushing; modesty; embarrassment; literary criticism; psychology; Jane Austen
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 0021-8308
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 10 January 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:52

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