100 books like The History of Emotions

By Jan Plamper,

Here are 100 books that The History of Emotions fans have personally recommended if you like The History of Emotions. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Anger: The Struggle for Emotional Control in America's History

Barbara H. Rosenwein Author Of Love: A History in Five Fantasies

From my list on the history of emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, teacher, and researcher who has always been interested in my own emotions and those of others. But I decided to write about the emotions of the past only after I became a historian of the Middle Ages. My discoveries began with the early medieval period. Now I enjoy looking at the full sweep of Western history. I have come to realize that at no time did we all share the same feelings nor evaluate them the same way. Instead, we live and have always lived in “emotional communities” with others who share our feelings—and alongside still others who do not. I hope my booklist will pique your interest in this new and exciting field.

Barbara's book list on the history of emotions

Barbara H. Rosenwein Why did Barbara love this book?

Many historians before the Stearnses thought it would be good to study the emotions of the past, but this book on anger was the first to offer a rigorous and satisfying technique for doing so. By carefully researching the advice books offered to middle-class Americans in the nineteenth through twentieth centuries, the authors show how standards for emotional expression changed over time. Emotional standards are in fact key to understanding how different groups at different times evaluate their emotions, understand their uses, and feel their mental and physical impact.

By Carol Zisowitz Stearns, Peter N. Stearns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking social history, Carol and Peter Stearns trace the two hundred-year development of anger, beginning with premodern colonial America. Drawing on diaries and popular advice literature of key periods, Anger deals with the everyday experiences of the family and workplace in its examination of our attempts to control our domestic lives and lessen social tensions by harnessing emotion. Offering an entirely new approach to the study of emotion, the authors inaugurate a new field of study termed "emotionology," which distinguishes collective emotional standards from the experience of emotion itself.


Book cover of The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions

Rob Boddice Author Of The History of Emotions

From my list on what your emotions are and where they come from.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of emotions, science, and medicine, with more than a decade of experience in meddling in other scientific affairs, especially in the worlds of psychology and neuroscience. I’m fascinated by human emotions in part, at least, because I feel we’re living in a crude emotional age. I’ve worked in five different countries since gaining my PhD in 2005. In that time I’ve written or edited 14 books of historical non-fiction, as well as dozens of articles and reviews. You can freely read my work in Aeon or History Today. I live between Canada (my adopted country) and Finland, where I frequently lament the loss of my European citizenship.

Rob's book list on what your emotions are and where they come from

Rob Boddice Why did Rob love this book?

This was my entry point to emotion research, as it is for many others. Reddy’s work is of seismic importance to me and for most of the people I know. It is largely responsible for making the field in which I now work, or at least for making other people take it seriously.

Up until this book came out, there was nothing that could compare in terms of its theoretical sophistication and its careful application. I go back to this book again and again, for support, clarity, and direction. It is, probably, the most thumbed thing I own.

By William M. Reddy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Navigation of Feeling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions, William M. Reddy offers a theory of emotions which both critiques and expands upon recent research in the fields of anthropology and psychology. Exploring the links between emotion and cognition, between culture and emotional expression, Reddy applies this theory of emotions to the processes of history. He demonstrates how emotions change over time, how emotions have a very important impact on the course of events, and how different social orders either facilitate or constrain emotional life. In an investigation of Revolutionary France, where sentimentalism in literature and philosophy…


Book cover of Emotional Arenas: Life, Love, and Death in 1870s Italy

Barbara H. Rosenwein Author Of Love: A History in Five Fantasies

From my list on the history of emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, teacher, and researcher who has always been interested in my own emotions and those of others. But I decided to write about the emotions of the past only after I became a historian of the Middle Ages. My discoveries began with the early medieval period. Now I enjoy looking at the full sweep of Western history. I have come to realize that at no time did we all share the same feelings nor evaluate them the same way. Instead, we live and have always lived in “emotional communities” with others who share our feelings—and alongside still others who do not. I hope my booklist will pique your interest in this new and exciting field.

Barbara's book list on the history of emotions

Barbara H. Rosenwein Why did Barbara love this book?

To the many approaches of modern historians—the emotional standards of the Stearnses, the emotional regimes of Reddy, the emotional communities of my own work—Mark Seymour here adds an important dimension, a study of the places and media in which emotions are expressed, from the courtroom to the love letter. He shows not only how emotions aroused by one venue may mean different things to different people, but also how the clash of such emotions may help modify and mold new forms of emotional expression and create new objects of emotional focus.

By Mark Seymour,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emotional Arenas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the records of a murder trial that transfixed all of Italy in the late 1870s, this study makes use of a dramatic court case to develop a new paradigm for the history of emotions - the 'emotional arena'. Set in the decade following Italian unification, the context was one of notable cultural variety. An as-yet unexplored aspect of this was that the experience and expression of emotions were as variable as the regions making up the new nation. Through a close
examination of the spaces in which daily lives, loves, and deaths unfolded - from marital homes to…


Book cover of Medieval Sensibilities: A History of Emotions in the Middle Ages

Barbara H. Rosenwein Author Of Love: A History in Five Fantasies

From my list on the history of emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, teacher, and researcher who has always been interested in my own emotions and those of others. But I decided to write about the emotions of the past only after I became a historian of the Middle Ages. My discoveries began with the early medieval period. Now I enjoy looking at the full sweep of Western history. I have come to realize that at no time did we all share the same feelings nor evaluate them the same way. Instead, we live and have always lived in “emotional communities” with others who share our feelings—and alongside still others who do not. I hope my booklist will pique your interest in this new and exciting field.

Barbara's book list on the history of emotions

Barbara H. Rosenwein Why did Barbara love this book?

All who are convinced that the Middle Ages was a barbaric period in which emotions were on the whole angry and violent will quickly change their mind as soon as they pick up this book. It shows that, far from being a stagnant interlude between the richly emotional worlds of classical antiquity and our own age, the period we call the Middle Ages was in constant emotional ferment, drawing above all on the implications of Christ’s passion and what it meant for human sensibilities.

By Damien Boquet, Piroska Nagy, Robert Shaw (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medieval Sensibilities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What do we know of the emotional life of the Middle Ages? Though a long-neglected subject, a multitude of sources - spiritual and secular literature, iconography, chronicles, as well as theological and medical works - provide clues to the central role emotions played in medieval society.

In this work, historians Damien Boquet and Piroska Nagy delve into a rich variety of texts and images to reveal the many and nuanced experiences of emotion during the Middle Ages - from the demonstrative shame of a saint to a nobleman's fear of embarrassment, from the enthusiasm of a crusading band to the…


Book cover of Emotional Worlds: Beyond an Anthropology of Emotion

Maria Heim Author Of Words for the Heart: A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India

From my list on helping you identify emotions you didn’t know you had.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love words, their sound, and their power. When I was a little girl, I would adopt one and make it my own. My parents long recalled my love affair with “nonsense,” which I would wield like a wand when hearing anything silly or irrational. I think words are interwoven with what we feel in a deep and inextricable way. I am also fascinated with how Indian thought offers millennia of wide and deep explorations of human experience in ways that trouble the basic assumptions of the modern West. 

Maria's book list on helping you identify emotions you didn’t know you had

Maria Heim Why did Maria love this book?

Though I am not an anthropologist, I devour ethnographies with a gusto that can only be attributed to disciplinary envy. There are several fascinating ethnographies of emotions and how they differ across cultures. Beatty’s book stands out among them for its rich ethnographic description as well as the sophistication with which he treats the relationship of emotion and culture.

He spots the limitations that lab experiments impose on studying emotions and suggests instead that we have to pay attention to the narratives in which emotions are situated, made, and deemed meaningful. And I rather like how he punctures “affect theory.”

By Andrew Beatty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emotional Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are emotions human universals? Is the concept of emotion an invention of Western tradition? If people in other cultures live radically different emotional lives how can we ever understand them? Using vivid, often dramatic, examples from around the world, and in dialogue with current work in psychology and philosophy, Andrew Beatty develops an anthropological perspective on the affective life, showing how emotions colour experience and transform situations; how, in turn, they are shaped by culture and history. In stark contrast with accounts that depend on lab simulations, interviews, and documentary reconstruction, he takes the reader into unfamiliar cultural worlds through…


Book cover of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate

Tim Muehlhoff Author Of Winsome Conviction: Disagreeing Without Dividing the Church

From my list on to avoid an argument with someone close.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the past 30 years I’ve focused on one question: Can individuals who have deep differences come together to cultivate common ground, compassion, and civility? Even with deep differences can we still engage in productive conversations? As an author, professor, and co-director of the Winsome Conviction Project my attempt to answer this question continues. The books I’ve listed have given guidance to not only come up with an answer but more importantly, live it out with those close to me. To hear me put theory into practice, listen to my Winsome Conviction podcast (with co-host Rick Langer) which tackles divisive issues with the hope of bringing diverse people together to talk.  

Tim's book list on to avoid an argument with someone close

Tim Muehlhoff Why did Tim love this book?

Even if you have the best intentions heading into a conversation, powerful emotions can easily derail the entire interaction. You headed in wanting to stay calm, but something your spouse, co-worker, or fellow church member said triggered your hot button surfacing powerful emotions. Soon, voices are raised and feelings are hurt. How do you manage powerful emotions when they surface? If you’ve never read a book by the creators of the Harvard Negotiation Project—the leading experts in mediation—this is a must-read by experts who have had to manage the most difficult and potentially explosive conversations imaginable. They remind us that emotions are “powerful, always present, and hard to handle.” Yet, the authors offer practical ways to recognize the emotions you have heading into a conversation with someone you care about and how to deal with them once they surface. 

By Roger Fisher, Daniel Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beyond Reason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether you are negotiating a business contract or curfew with your teenager, emotions can get you in trouble. They also can help you get what you want. This book shows you how. Telling a negotiator 'Don't get emotional' is nonsense. We all have emotions of some kind - all the time - and these emotions deeply inform both what we want and how we go about getting it. In "Getting to Yes", master negotiator Roger Fisher helped readers understand the mechanics of everyday agreements and how to reach them while preserving respect and self-worth. Now, in "Beyond Reason", he and…


Book cover of The Way I Feel

Mary Angus Author Of Max's Fuzzy Feelers

From my list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an illustrator who has been captivated by the whimsy of children’s books since I was a child myself. The wonder and enchantment with the world of narrative illustrative has never worn off and I still love getting lost in a beautiful picture book. I hope my illustrations are able to inspire others the way they have inspired me. 

Mary's book list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one

Mary Angus Why did Mary love this book?

I am absolutely enamored with the illustrations by Janan Cain in this book. They give me the same whimsical feeling I would get as a child reading A Bad Case of the Stripes. There is a softness in the colors and visual elements that really lends itself to the content of the book. Each emotion is touched on without judgment, just presenting its qualities. It is almost like a dictionary of feelings, which can be helpful for parents starting discussions around emotions. I could also see this book being so helpful for neuro-divergent children in acting out and identifying their feelings and the way other feelings present in others. 

By Janan Cain,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Way I Feel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Feelings are neither good nor bad, they simply are. Kids need words to name their feelings, just as they need words to name all things in their world. The Way I Feel uses strong, colorful, and expressive images which go along with simple verses to help children connect the word and the emotion. Your child will learn useful words, and you will have many chances to open conversations about what's going on in her/his life. Recommended by parents, teachers and mental health professionals, The Way I Feel is a valuable addition to anyone's library. This book is ideal for children…


Book cover of Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day

Gail Reichlin Author Of The Pocket Parent

From my list on motivate kids to manage their own behaviors and feelings.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an internationally respected discipline expert, I guide parents in how to get more compliance than defiance from their little ones. I coined the phrase “The Dance of Non-Compliance” between parent and child. In order to change the dance, the parent will usually have to change his/her dance step first. It is often impossible during the heat of the moment, to teach ‘the lesson’ to the child due to the agitated emotional state of both parent and child. A well-executed picture book, appropriately written and illustrated for young children's developmental thinking ability, can open the door for a meaningful discussion regarding their misbehavior and feelings.

Gail's book list on motivate kids to manage their own behaviors and feelings

Gail Reichlin Why did Gail love this book?

This book shows that everyone has moods that can change each day, or within the same day...from silly to angry to sad, etc. The zany, touching verse and the fun mood-wheel that lets the children change a character’s facial expressions will help a parent and child identify and discuss both good and bad feelings and how to manage them. A wonderful book to start a discussion of revisiting misbehavior and deciding what s/he could do next time in a similar situation.

By Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Cornell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the #1 New York Times bestselling team of Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell, authors of I’m Gonna Like Me and Where Do Balloons Go?, Today I Feel Silly helps children understand and appreciate their shifting moods.

Jamie Lee Curtis's zany and touching verse, paired with Laura Cornell's whimsical and original illustrations, helps kids explore, identify, and, even have fun with their ever-changing moods.

Silly, cranky, excited, or sad—everyone has moods that can change each day. And that’s okay! Follow the boisterous, bouncing protagonist as she explores her moods and how they change from day to day.

 


Book cover of The 10-Minute Refresh for Moms: Less Stress, More Joy

Dawn Thomas-Cameron Author Of The Path to Perfection: Parenting without a roadmap: tales from a (non) perfect parent

From my list on honest, real life, emotion evoking parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started this book in 2007. It was a compilation of stories from my experience as a parent; there was no structure to it at all. When my second husband passed in 2017, an ad appeared in Facebook for Author Academy Elite (AAE). I knew it was my late husband giving me that one final push to get the book done. As a (non) perfect parent of three children, I felt my experience could benefit others as I am continuing my journey along my Path to Perfection. As a person who has struggled with depression for her entire life, I can honestly say that parenting is hard. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. And that’s why I think you’ll enjoy these books!

Dawn's book list on honest, real life, emotion evoking parents

Dawn Thomas-Cameron Why did Dawn love this book?

As a parent, we all struggle with self-care.  The book is relatable. Real-life stories highlight the struggles many moms go through. The author talks about how we put so much on ourselves as moms and yet we still feel unworthy.

With the help of this book, moms can evoke self-care for themselves - in as little as 10 minutes a day. There is a course you can take along with it if you want.

By Nichole B. Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 10-Minute Refresh for Moms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Want to Jumpstart Your Mama Heart?

Many moms don’t want others to know the truth…

That they are struggling.

That being a mother is much harder than they anticipated.

That they don’t feel good enough and are forgetting who they are or what they like because every waking moment is spent taking care of everyone but themselves. 

It can be an overwhelming and underappreciated job...

Even if it's the best job title in the world. 

It is common for moms to have a million tabs open in their mind at all times and to therefore feel burned out and overwhelmed.…


Book cover of A Little SPOT of Anger: A Story About Managing BIG Emotions

Kim T.S. Author Of Feeling All My Feelings Book

From my list on kids with big feelings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m just a normal parent who has gone through the ups and downs of helping her little boy with his exceptionally big feelings. Anger is the main emotion we continue to struggle with, but we’ve come such a long way! The smallest things used to set him off, and he could go from annoyance to rage in minutes. Sometimes it would take us up to an hour to completely calm down. I tried my best to stay patient, help him work through his feelings, and redirect his anger towards non-harmful modes of expression. When he was calm, then we would talk about what happened, and think of ways we can both do better next time.

Kim's book list on kids with big feelings

Kim T.S. Why did Kim love this book?

“Count the spots from one to four. TAP, TAP, TAP, and TAP once more. Now fill your lungs with peaceful air, and coat your spots with love and care.”

I love the simple concept of how to calm down the anger spot. We tried the tapping technique and it helped us be more mindful of our body and breathing. It only worked for a short while for my son, but that’s how it goes! We just need to keep finding new techniques, because every child is different. Try to check if it will suit your child, because the Little Spot is a teacher who explains a lot of important concepts, and it may be hard to hold some kids’ attention if they are looking for a story.

By Diane Alber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little SPOT of Anger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It can be really hard to handle BIG Emotions, especially when your ANGRY SPOT shows up!  Whether it's when someone takes your toy or you feel like you can't do something, you have the power to turn your BIG ANGRY SPOT into a calm PEACEFUL SPOT!

By associating emotions with something a child can visual (bright red spot), they are able to see when a small feeling of frustration can easily turn into into a big ANGRY emotion. They will realize they can manage their spots of emotions with fun counting and breathing techniques by watching a fun illustrated ANGRY…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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