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Generations of Feeling


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Table of Contents

Introduction; 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; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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An exploration of emotional life in the West, considering the varieties, transformations and constants of human emotions over eleven centuries.

About the Author

Barbara H. Rosenwein is Professor Emerita at Loyola University, Chicago. An internationally renowned historian, she has been a Guest Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, the Ecole Normale Superieure, 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 a Auxerre, par la voie des 'emotions'. Un parcours d'historienne du Moyen Age). 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.


'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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