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A Natural History of Human Emotions Hardcover – September 13, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Even though a Chinese audience hearing Electra sing her poignant lamentation song would not understand her words, they would immediately recognize her emotion. And in the universal recognizability of sadness and nine other human emotions, Walton sees evidence of the validity of Darwin's groundbreaking Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1873), where the great naturalist argues that evolutionary development has biologically inscribed six fundamental emotions into human instincts. Walton extends Darwin's work by adding four more emotions to his taxonomy and by probing the psychological dynamics of each within a range of cultural contexts. An impressive wealth of scholarship helps readers define each emotion and understand how humans experience--and provoke--it. Though he assumes primal origins for all of the emotions examined, Walton limns some remarkable shifts in their modern manifestation. Readers consider, for instance, the dubious transformation of shame during the twentieth century into a motive for sadomasochism. And despite his advocacy of free expression, Walton acknowledges the role of the moral virtues in preventing emotional eruptions. A study that will repeatedly spark shocks of self-recognition. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802118046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802118042
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,062,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Charles Darwin's survey of emotions serves as a starting point - and a focal point - for Stuart Walton's A Natural History Of Human Emotions, an insightfully informative examination of the history of human emotions, which considers how these emotions have fueled social and political change over time. Human emotion hasn't been a constant in as much as society has changed its rules for expression in both public and private and thus emotional honey has come to be valued while other emotions have risen to the foreground to dominate. Chapters use plenty of historical references from Biblical to modern times to chart these changes.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Maynard Handley on January 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was expecting a scientific survey of the emotions, but this is a literary and historical survey.

The historical parts are very interesting but are, unfortunately, the smaller part of the book.

The literary parts I had rather less patience with; they felt rather like amateur Freud, rambling on about (supposedly) univeral patterns of human behavior (where universal apparently means within the western literary tradition), and apparently quite ignorant of any post-WW2 brain science. (For example, how can one seriously discuss obsessive-compulsive disorder, as the book does, without even mentioning that drugs exist that quieten the malady?)
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By michelle34 on December 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Psychology is my what I studied, but somehow I couldn't keep my attention on reading this book. After months and months of reading a few pages at a time, I finally gave up about a hundred pages into it. I think this book is great for reference or for anyone who really wants to know about the History of Human emotions and how media has affected it, but for the average reader, try something else. Simply put, this book was just boring.
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