Swoon is the first extensive study of literary swooning, homing in on swooning's rich history as well as its potential to provide new insights into the contemporary. This study demonstrates that passing-out has had a pivotal place in English literature. Beginning with an introduction to the swoon as a marker of aesthetic sensitivity, it includes chapters on swooning and generic transformation in Chaucer and Shakespeare; morbid, femininised swoons and excessive affect in romantic, gothic, and modernist works; irony, cliché and bathos in the swoons of contemporary romance fiction. This book revisits key texts to show that passing-out has been intimately connected to explorations of emotionality, ecstasy and transformation; to depictions of sickness and dying; and to performances of gender and gendering. Swoon offers an exciting new approach the history of the body alongside the history of literary response.