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A Silvan Tomkins Handbook: Foundations for Affect Theory


By Adam J. Frank and Elizabeth A. Wilson

Elizabeth A. Wilson is a Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Adam J. Frank is Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia.

The brilliant and complex theories of psychologist Silvan Tomkins (1911–1991) have inspired the turn to affect in the humanities, social sciences, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, these theories are not well understood. A Silvan Tomkins Handbook makes his theories portable across a range of interdisciplinary contexts and accessible to a wide variety of contemporary scholars and students of affect.

Read the full description at the University of Minnesota Press. This book was published as part of the TOME initiative. 

From the authors

Our goal in publishing A Silvan Tomkins Handbook open access is to make the book available to interdisciplinary, generalist, and international readerships. We anticipate that this book will be read and used not just by students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences, but also by clinicians who work in contemporary psychodynamic models of treatment where the recognition and interpretation of affect has become a central concern; empirical researchers in disciplines like psychology or sociology who want to return to Tomkins’s theory of affect; and performance and arts practitioners who are curious about how a theory of affect could inform their work. An open access edition of the Handbook is vital if it is to circulate across these disciplinary boundaries, beyond the confines of the academy, and outside the borders of US publishing. We have designed this book to be used.