Emotion is central to our cognitive life, and far from the base opposite to reason it was long taken for. See also Memory, which can be profoundly affected by emotional factors.

Scientific discussions:

Frijda, N. H. (1993). The place of appraisal in emotion. Cognition and Emotion, 7(3-4), 357-387. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02699939308409193 (paywall)

A concise introduction to the idea that emotion is dependent on cognitive appraisal of what an object, person, or situation means to me (hence collapsing the Platonic reason/emotion opposition), clarifying the relations between the appraisal and the emotion, including the role of elaborative post-hoc appraisals.

Kensinger, E. A. (2009). Remembering the details: Effects of emotion. Emotion Review, 1(2), 99-113. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676782/ (full text)

Discusses the effects of emotion on memory, with a focus on the enhancements it creates particularly in memories of negative experiences.

Gross, J. J., Sheppes, G., and Ury, H. L. (2011). Emotion generation and emotion regulation: A distinction we should make (carefully). Cognition and Emotion, 25(5), 765-781. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjN5IGzn7jRAhWILMAKHWpwAjQQFggfMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fase.tufts.edu%2Fpsychology%2Febbl%2Fdocuments%2FpubGross2011CognitionEmotionLecture.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGp8NMD52u7ubQtMrDcToaXZBJ7NA&sig2=6HhVp5m07iQjeILOV30MyQ (full text)

It’s natural to think of the generation of emotions and their regulation as distinct processes, but the distinction holds only in certain contexts.

Izard, C. I. (2010). The many meanings/aspects of emotion: Definitions, functions, activation, and regulation. Emotion Review, 2(4), 363-370. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1754073910374661 (paywall)

An attempt to clarify the general concept by asking eminent emotion researchers six questions about emotion.

Sloman, A. (2004). What are emotion theories about? Invited talk at a cross-disciplinary workshop on Architectures for Modeling Emotion at the AAAI Spring Symposium at Stanford University. http://www.aaai.org/Papers/Symposia/Spring/2004/SS-04-02/SS04-02-024.pdf (full text)

A no-nonsense round-up of the inadequacies of current ways of thinking and talking about emotion and affect, as well as the forms of wishful thinking that can get in the way of doing science. It calls for finer-grained categorisations as well as a broader perspective on emotions in their cognitive contexts, and sketches out the start of a ‘CogAff’ input-output model. ‘Starting again from an architecture-based theory may upset some scientists, but may also reveal the true depths of some of our intuitive, pre-scientific theories of mind, such as those used by novelists, playwrights, poets and gossips.’

Cognitive humanities discussions:

Carroll, N. (1997). Art, narrative, and emotion. In M. Hjort and S. Laver (Eds), Emotion and the arts (pp. 190-211). New York: Oxford University Press. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0195354915 (partial preview)

Counters the Platonic model of emotion with a cognitive one, and emphasises the importance of attention to models of aesthetic emotion, describing literary texts as tailored to elicit in readers emotionally focused responses that contribute to the overall assimilation of the text. The paper counters the notion of identification: characters’ emotions don’t transmigrate into us; rather we respond as ourselves. The argument concludes with a brief response to the worry (based on considerations of reality and belief) that emotional engagement with fictions is impossible.

Cupchik, G. C. (1994). Emotions in aesthetics: Reactive and reflective models. Poetics, 23, 177-188. http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~cupchik/selected%20articles_files/Cupchik1994.pdf (full text)

Outlines various models of aesthetic emotion, and proposes that stimulus appraisal and response in everyday contexts can be generalised to aesthetic contexts, with different stimulus configurations and contexts yielding varying levels of automaticity and flexibility. The paper develops the reactive/reflective distinction, in which pleasure/arousal or meaning-making respectively is primary.

Cupchik, G. C., Oatley, K., and Vorderer, P. (1998). Emotional effects of reading excerpts from short stories by James Joyce. Poetics, 25, 363-377. http://www.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/Cognitive/Readings/Cupchik_Oatley_Vorderer_1998.pdf (full text)

A study using stories by Joyce, classified either as descriptively dense or as having a unifying emotional theme. Readers were instructed either to adopt a sympathetic spectator role or to identify with the protagonist, and were asked to say whether they experienced a ‘fresh emotion’ or an ‘emotional memory’ during their reading, and to rate these experiences for pleasure, intensity, and tension, as well as being asked whether they felt any ‘primary emotions’ like anger or fear. Relationships were found between text type, reader stance, and emotion type.

Keen, S. (2011). Introduction: Narrative and the emotions. Poetics Today, 32, 1-53. https://repository.wlu.edu/bitstream/handle/11021/22537/IntroductionNarrativeandtheEmotions.pdf?sequence=1 (full text)

Traces a history and the current state of the study of narrative and emotion in different fields, including emotion’s connections to reason, morality, and mental health, and outlines the arguments of the other contributions to the special issue.

Hogan, P. C. (2015). What literature teaches us about emotion: Synthesising affective science and literary study. In L. Zunshine (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of cognitive literary studies (pp. 273-290). New York: Oxford University Press. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0199978069 (full preview)

Argues for the value of literature (which both describes and induces emotions) as a tool for investigating the complexities of emotion, with reflections on the role of literary features like genre, and the interplay of emotion and reward (e.g. emotion-sharing, such as between author and reader, and amongst readers). In conclusion the author provides a reading of a poem that contrasts his own, Semir Zeki’s, and Martha Nussbaum’s approaches to emotion and literature, showing how these perspectives can illuminate both the poem itself and to our emotional lives more generally.

Miall, D. S. (1988). Affect and narrative: A model of response to stories. Poetics, 17, 259-272. http://www.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/MiallPub/Miall_Model_1988.pdf (full text)

An early mapping of the relevance of emotion to narrative engagement, replacing the information-processing model with one in which three characteristics of emotion – its self-referential and anticipatory qualities, and its enabling of links between conceptual domains – provide purchase on readers’ responses, which are understood by analogy with real-world social interactions but with reference to a defamiliarisation model of response. The claims are supported by evidence from two experiments, using reading times and self-reports, to assess the role of interpretive schemas in narrative response.

Miall, D. (2011). Emotions and the structuring of narrative responses. Poetics Today, 32, 323-348. http://www.neurohumanitiestudies.eu/archivio/Emotions_PT_2011.pdf (full text)

Expands on the 1988 paper by adding further qualities of emotion – an inherent narrativity, and a tendency to animism (or anthropomorphism) – and by incorporating some neuroscientific findings on the temporal structures of electrical evoked-response potentials (ERPs) as correlates of certain emotional responses.

Miall, D. S. (2007). Feeling from the perspective of the empirical study of literature. Journal of Literary Theory, 1/2, 377-393. http://www.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/MiallPub/Miall_Feeling_JLT.pdf (full text)

Proposes that the emotion system involves three levels: bodily aspects, the experiential level, and prototypes. This model helps us distinguish between tokens and types as objects of emotion; readers may generalise the significance of what they feel in response to literature by moving from token to type. Part of this movement is bound up with the self-referential nature of emotion and feeling, which act as contexts for engagement with our self concept. More generally, our sense of what is literary may come from engaging with emotion at the prototypical rather than the token-specific level. This argument also has relevance to empirical work on responses to foregrounding and absorption, and debates on empathy and identification.

Flesch, W. (2015). Reading and bargaining. In L. Zunshine (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of cognitive literary studies (pp. 369-392). New York: Oxford University Press. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0199978069 (partial preview), http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199978069.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199978069-e-19 (paywall)

Suggests that we think of reading as a form of bargaining: we read as though it were uncertain what is going to happen next, even though we know it’s already been determined by the author, and feel like we’re bargaining with the narrative because we are investing emotionally in it. All emotional intensity involves a degree of bargaining: it aims to express desire, saying ‘this is how that makes me feel, so that I plead with you to interact with me accordingly’. Emotions in response to literature are wishful bargains: we yield some control to the writer in order to get some gratifications we couldn’t on our own. The paper shows the relevance of decision theory and evolutionary game theory (including recursive dynamics, the difficulties of estimating probabilities, and discounting of longer-term interests for shorter-term ones) to understanding our strategic interactions with others and ourselves in literary contexts, our desires and preferences about fictional occurrences, and the temporal dynamics involved.

Jacobs, A. M. (2017). Affective and aesthetic processes in literary reading: A neurocognitive poetics perspective. In M. Burke and E. T. Troscianko (Eds), Cognitive literary science: Dialogues between literature and cognition (pp. 303-325). New York: Oxford University Press. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=019049686X (no preview of this chapter)

Offers a survey of literary reading from the perspective of neurocognitive poetics, taking the form of a ‘mountain climb’ from ‘word valleys’ to ‘sentence slopes’ and on to ‘verse lifts’, ‘stanza rises’, ‘passage hills’, ‘story knolls’, and finally ‘poem mountains’. The chapter reviews findings on textual features including foregrounding and backgrounding, and on response features lie immersion and disportation, empathy and suspense. The conclusion sets out some general principles for the theory and practice of studying literature scientifically, and in particular for integrative modelling of the micro- and macro-processes underlying literary reading.