The Affective Postwar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines an overlooked connection between patriotism and paranoia, arguing that patriotic love conditions suspicion and enmity born from perennial uncertainty over others’ love of nation. In John Neal’s Seventy-Six (1823), love of country breeds both suspicious minds and suspicious affects. This historical romance of the Revolutionary War demonstrates that paranoia is a set of affects in addition to the mental properties for which it is more commonly understood. For this reason, paranoid patriotism becomes transmissible among persons – and in literature, through style. This observation is significant because literary criticism has traditionally emphasized paranoia’s affinities with narrative, particularly conspiracy theory, and, more recently, with interpretation, namely, the paranoid’s search for coherent explanation and order, or the hermeneutics of suspicion. Neal’s novel insists that we also recognize paranoia as a trait of style.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Literature in Transition, 1770-1828
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781108675239
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2022.


  • Affect
  • American revolution
  • John neal
  • Paranoia
  • Patriotism
  • Seventy-Six
  • Style
  • War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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