Learning How to Feel: Children's Literature and the History of Emotional Socialization, 1870-1970

Learning How to Feel: Children's Literature and the History of Emotional Socialization, 1870-1970


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Learning How to Feel explores the ways in which children and adolescents learn not just how to express emotions that are thought to be pre-existing, but actually how to feel. The volume assumes that the embryonic ability to feel unfolds through a complex dialogue with the social and cultural environment and specifically through reading material. The fundamental formation takes place in childhood and youth. A multi-authored historical monograph, Learning How to Feel uses children's literature and advice manuals to access the training practices and learning processes for a wide range of emotions in the modern age, circa 1870-1970. The study takes an international approach, covering a broad array of social, cultural, and political milieus in Britain, Germany, India, Russia, France, Canada, and the United States.

Learning How to Feel places multidirectional learning processes at the centre of the discussion, through the concept of practical knowledge. The book innovatively draws a framework for broad historical change during the course of the period. Emotional interaction between adult and child gave way to a focus on emotional interactions among children, while gender categories became less distinct. Children were increasingly taught to take responsibility for their own emotional development, to find 'authenticity' for themselves. In the context of changing social, political, cultural, and gender agendas, the building of nations, subjects and citizens, and the forging of moral and religious values, Learning How to Feel demonstrates how children were provided with emotional learning tools through their reading matter to navigate their emotional lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199684991
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/24/2014
Series: Emotions in History
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ute Frevert is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society. From 2003 to 2007 she was professor of German history at Yale University and previously taught History at the Universities of Konstanz, Bielefeld and the Free University in Berlin. Her research interests include the social and cultural history of the modern period, the history of emotions, gender history and political history. Some of her best known work has examined the history of women and gender relations in modern Germany, social and medical politics in the nineteenth century, and the impact of military conscription from 1814 to the present day. Ute Frevert is an honorary professor at the Free University in Berlin and member of several scientific advisory boards. In 1998 she was awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Pascal Eitler, Stephanie Olsen, and Uffa Jensen
1. Mrs Gaskell's Anxiety, Uffa Jensen
2. Dickon's Trust, Stephanie Olsen
3. Ashgari's Piety, Margrit Pernau
4. Ralph's Compassion, Daniel Bruckenhaus
5. Doctor Dolittle's Empathy, Pascal Eitler
6. Wendy's Love, Magdalena Beljan and Benno Gammerl
7. Piggy's Shame, Ute Frevert
8. Lebrac's Pain, Anja Laukotter
9. Jim Button's Fear, Bettina Hitzer
10. Ivan's Bravery, Jan Plamper
11. Heidi's Homesickness, Juliane Brauer
12. Ingrid's Boredom, Joachim C. Haberlen
Epilogue: Translating Books, Translating Emotions, Margrit Pernau

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