How have our emotions shaped the course of human history?
And how have our experience and understanding of emotions evolved with us?
We humans like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, who, as a species, have relied on calculation and intellect to survive. But many of the most important moments in our history had little to do with cold, hard facts and a lot to do with feelings. Events ranging from the origins of philosophy to the birth of the world’s major religions, the fall of Rome, the Scientific Revolution, and some of the bloodiest wars that humanity has ever experienced can’t be properly understood without understanding emotions.
In A Human History of Emotion, Richard Firth-Godbehere takes readers on a fascinating and wide-ranging tour of the central and often under-appreciated role emotions have played in human societies around the world and throughout history – from Ancient Greece to Gambia, Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Britain, and beyond.
Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, art and religious history, A Human History of Emotion vividly illustrates how our understanding and experience of emotions has changed over time, and how our beliefs about feelings – and our feelings themselves – profoundly shaped us and the world we inhabit.
Richard Firth-Godbehere, PhD, one of the world’s leading experts on disgust and emotions, is an independent researcher and consultant in the history, language, science and philosophy of emotions, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London. He received a first-class degree from the University of London, during which time he won two awards for academic excellence, alongside a Masters (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge and a PhD From Queen Mary, University of London, where he was a Wellcome Trust Scholar. His award-winning interdisciplinary research walks the line between history, psychology, linguistics, and futurism. He examines how understandings of emotions change over time and how these changes can influence the wider world.
A Kirkus Best Science Books of 2021 -
”'A fascinating look at the profound ways in which the harnessing of human emotions has shaped world-wide history and culture. Eye-opening and thought-provoking” - Gina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain
”'Emotions are a much bigger part of the experience of being human than most people would ever realise. If you want to know more about emotions and how we arrived at our understanding of them, this book is exactly what you need” - Dean Burnett, author of The Happy Brain
”'Whether you are looking for new ideas, narrative history, psychological theory, or cultural anthropology, this book will teach you something new about how people have felt about their feelings through the ages. A book like no other” - Thomas Dixon, author of Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears