Katie Barclay and Francois Soyer, Emotions in Europe 1517-1914 (Routledge, 2021)

Research output: Contribution to JournalBook Reviewpeer-review


Where are we with the history of emotions? The field has grown substantially in terms of themes, perspectives and the sheer volume of work available since early beginnings in the 1980s and an explosion of research in the past ten to fifteen years. The ‘affective turn’ continues to produce fascinating and paradigm shifting insights, changing what we value in terms of targets for research and interpretations of human experiences in the past. This once emerging area of research seems now well established and part of the mainstream agenda of enquiry. Sourcebooks and volumes of primary material are generally indicative of this status.
This wonderful collection of sources, edited and annotated by Katie Barclay and Francois Soyer, represents the best of this type of literature. Katie Barclay has previously contributed to this genre with student guide and source collections with Routledge and Bloomsbury but this collection offers a far broader range and depth of sources. The volumes are divided roughly into single centuries for each of the four volumes spanning this period. Then each volume is divided into the five broad themes of ‘The Self’, ‘Family and Community’, ‘Religion’, ‘Politics and Law’, ‘Science and Philosophy’ and ‘Art and Culture.’ We could have various pedantic conversations about periodisation and thematic coverage but they would be largely redundant and readers will take their own view. I suspect on the whole readers will find the arrangement makes a good deal of sense.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily & Community History
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Nov 2022


  • Emotions
  • Sources
  • Methodology


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