Title: Women's Negative Emotions and Micro-Emotional Values 1700-1830: Examining Experiential Possibilities through Emotional Linguistics
Start year: 2013
My research explores the ways in which women expressed emotions that can be considered 'negative' in their personal correspondence and diaries over the period 1700 to 1830. In this micro study of emotional language I explore the ways in which meaning was attached to emotion terms and was understood from individual perspectives and experiences of personal goals, everyday life and relationships. These understandings I argue were formed and mediated within close relationships or 'micro-emotional communities', either with others or with objects such as a diary, and taken from wider 'Emotional Communities', a concept created by Barbara Rosenwein.
According to Rosenwein 'Emotional Communities' are broad cultural forms of emotional understanding dispersed over a society. Using individual case studies I examine their discrete language and understanding of emotion. I then explore where in wider culture the individual drew their emotional understandings from, why this might be, what impact that had on their experience of the everyday and how this changes the historical perspective on comprehensive notions of society and experience. Importantly, I explore how the 'micro-emotional communities' the individual women were part of were vital for mediating these wider meanings and bringing personal emotional needs and understanding into communal forms of knowledge and practice.
Contributed to a co-written chapter with Dr Karen Harvey entitled 'In Private: the individual and the domestic community' which is due to be published in Merridee Bailey, David Lemmings and Claire Walker (eds.) A Cultural History of the Emotions in the Baroque and the Enlightenment Age (1600-1780).
The English Historical Review on Susan Broomhall (ed), Spaces for Feeling: Emotions and Sociabilities in Britain, 1650-1850 (London, 2015). Published 19 April 2017