Historical Research on the Self and Emotions

William M. Reddy (Duke University, USA).

Research on this topic in Europe and North America has reached a new stage. Prior to 1970, historians told a story of progress in which modern individuals gradually gained mastery of emotions. After 1970 this older approach was put into doubt. Since 1990 research into the history of emotions has increasingly relied on a new methodology, based on the assumption that emotion is a domain of effort, and that it is possible to document variance between emotional standards, on the one hand, and the greater or lesser success of individuals in conforming to them, on the other. Emotional standards are now assumed to display a history that is not progressive, but reflects distinctive features of each period.

emotions, fear, love, reason, self, sentimentalism

Emotion Review, Vol. 1, No. 4 (October 2009) 302–315.