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Generations of Feeling
A History of Emotions, 600–1700

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  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107480841

$ 29.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Generations of Feeling is the first book to provide a comprehensive history of emotions in pre- and early modern Western Europe. Charting the varieties, transformations and constants of human sentiments over the course of eleven centuries, Barbara H. Rosenwein explores the feelings expressed in a wide range of 'emotional communities' as well as the theories that served to inform and reflect their times. Focusing specifically on groups within England and France, chapters address communities as diverse as the monastery of Rievaulx in twelfth-century England and the ducal court of fifteenth-century Burgundy, assessing the ways in which emotional norms and modes of expression respond to, and in turn create, their social, religious, ideological, and cultural environments. Contemplating emotions experienced 'on the ground' as well as those theorized in the treatises of Alcuin, Thomas Aquinas, Jean Gerson and Thomas Hobbes, this insightful study offers a profound new narrative of emotional life in the West.

    • Provides a history of emotions across eleven centuries of pre-modern Western Europe
    • Covers both emotions as expressed 'on the ground' and as theorized in the treatises of Alcuin, Thomas Aquinas, Jean Gerson and Thomas Hobbes
    • Considers the extent to which emotional norms and modes of expression are shaped by their social and cultural environments
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    • Winner, 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    "In this deeply learned but lively excavation of premodern emotions, short chapters on theories of the emotions alternate with longer chapters comparing two or more "emotional communities" in representative historical periods. Sensitive to the ambiguity of the term emotion, Rosenwein focuses on the words for understanding, expressing, and feeling emotions and on the shifting valorizations of specific emotions over time … This is a rich narrative of tradition, continuity, and change. Summing up: highly recommended."
    J. Bussanich, Choice

    'Barbara Rosenwein’s Generations of Feeling is also ambitious and wide-ranging.' Catriona Kennedy, History Today

    '… it is this insistent attention to the many shifting and overlapping definitions of emotion, and the work that they do - socially, culturally, and communally; in the world and in history - that makes Rosenwein’s book a valuable new contribution to the field.' Stephanie Downes, Cromohs

    'This book, a masterpiece, offers like everything else that Barbara Rosenwein has written over the last two decades, a lesson in methodology of the history of emotions. … Generations of Feeling, written in a very pleasant and often diverting style … achieves the program Rosenwein outlined in the first decade of our millennium. The author provides in this book an excellent answer to the questions and worries she expressed some fifteen years earlier … an implicit manifesto against any teleological vision of history, even against historical evolution in emotional terms.' Piroska Nagy, Speculum

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107480841
    • length: 390 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 8 maps 30 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ancient theories
    2. Attachment and detachment
    3. Alcuin's therapy
    4. Love and treachery
    5. Thomas' passions
    6. Theatricality and sobriety
    7. Gerson's music
    8. Despair and happiness
    9. Hobbes' motions

  • Author

    Barbara H. Rosenwein, Loyola University, Chicago
    Barbara H. Rosenwein is Professor Emerita at Loyola University, Chicago. An internationally renowned historian, she has been a Guest Professor at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and most recently the University of Oxford (Trinity College). She was a scholar in residence at the American Academy in Rome (2001–2) and was elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 2003. Rosenwein has lectured throughout the world. Her work on the history of emotions includes the editing of Anger's Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages (1998) and the authoring of Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (2006). In 2012, a conference was held at Auxerre, France, to honor Rosenwein's contributions to medieval history (De Cluny à Auxerre, par la voie des 'émotions'. Un parcours d'historienne du Moyen Âge). In 2013, two sessions (To Be a Neighbour to St Maurice) were organized in her honour at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, and in 2014, a conference to honour her work (At the Intersection of Medieval History and the Social Sciences) was held at the Newberry Library, Chicago. She has won several prestigious awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1992) and several National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships.


    • Winner, 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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