What is the relationship between language and the emotions? Where ought we look for evidence of emotion in historical and literary texts? Is it possible to talk about the emotional states of entire cultures or groups of peoples, and if so, how should that level be reconciled with that of the emotional experience of the individual? Are there categories of emotions that are shared across cultures?
Embracing a multidisciplinary approach to these questions and others, Concepts and Categories of Emotion in East Asia (Carocci editore, 2012) collects essays that range over time and space, each investigating some aspect of the discourse and experience of emotion in East Asian history. When taken together, the contributions explore several major thematics in the history of emotion. Some investigate the ways that collective emotions are expressed in documents, or the ways that a document’s genre might shape the way emotions are expressed by it. Some look at the ways that sources can manipulate a reader’s emotions. Some propose or work within a schema for classifying and organizing the language of emotions across a wide range of materials within a particular cultural context. In our conversation about the volume and the major issues it raises and engages with, editor Giusi Tamburello spoke about the genesis of the project and of her own contributions to and interests in it. I very much enjoyed talking with her, and I hope you enjoy the interview!