Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘history of emotions’

‘Go with your gut’? Reason and passion from the eighteenth century to the present day

By Madeleine Armstrong

If you’ve ever had to make a difficult choice, you’ll be familiar with the nauseating conflict between the head and the heart. You may have drawn a dozen pros-and-cons lists, only to go with the option that simply felt right. We are accustomed to seeing reason and passion in conflict, and always feel we need to choose one over the other. This is one of the reasons I, as a historian, am drawn to the eighteenth century: it is an era which appears caught in the crossfire between a ‘rational’ Enlightenment, and a cult of ‘sensibility’. But reason and passion were not always enemies. In the mid- to late-eighteenth century in Britain, many philosophers tried to bring the two together in harmony. The movement for ‘rational sentiment’ is an important and overlooked feature of the eighteenth century, and offers wisdom for our own time. Read more

The emotional impact of war

A perspective from the early medieval west, c.841AD

By Robert Evans @R_AH_Evans

This week we remember the human cost of military conflict. We think not only of the millions killed and wounded but also about the unseen impact of war on human minds and emotions.

The psychological and emotional costs of war are far better known about and studied than they used to be. The conflicts of the last century are increasingly studied with this in mind.[1] Similarly, the mental wellbeing of our own armed forces remains an important political issue.[2] The emotional cost of war is not, however, a new consideration. Although the nature of fighting (and its cultural context) differs according to time and place, the modern and medieval soldier often had a great deal in common when it came to emotional experience.

Read more