Matters of the Heart: History, Medicine, and Emotion

Paperback | February 15, 2012

byFay Bound Alberti

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The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Across cultures it is seen as the site of emotions, as well as the origin of life. We feel emotions in the heart, from the heart-stopping sensation of romantic love to the crushing sensation of despair. And yet since the nineteenth century the heart has been redefined in medical terms as a pump, an organ responsible for the circulation of the blood. Emotions have been removed from the heart as an active site of influence and towards the brain. It is the brain that is the organ most commonlyassociated with emotion in the modern West. So why, then, do the emotional meanings of the heart linger? Why do many transplantation patients believe that the heart, for instance, can transmit memories and emotions and why do we still refer to emotions as 'heartfelt'? We cannot answer these questions without reference to the history of the heart as both physical organ and emotional symbol. Matters of the Heart traces the ways emotions have been understood between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries as both physical entities and spiritual experiences. Withreference to historical interpretations of such key concepts as gender, emotion, subjectivity and the self, it also addresses the shifting relationship from heart to brain as competing centres of emotion in the West.

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The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Across cultures it is seen as the site of emotions, as well as the origin of life. We feel emotions in the heart, from the heart-stopping sensation of romantic love to the crushing sensation of despair. And yet since the nineteenth century the heart has been redefined in medical t...

Dr Fay Bound Alberti is a writer and cultural historian who specialises in the study of medicine, emotions and gender. She has lectured at several UK universities, and has published on many aspects of early modern medicine and culture in major journals, including the Lancet, History Workshop Journal and Isis. She has also contributed ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:February 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199606048

ISBN - 13:9780199606047

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Heart of the Matter: Emotion, Modernity and the Self1. Humours to Hormones: Emotion and the Heart in History2. Hunter's Heart: Pathological Anatomy and the Science of Disease3. From Morbid Anatomy to New Technologies: Constructing the Heart of Disease4. Angina Pectoris and the Arnold Family5. 'Heart Latham' and Nineteenth-Century Medical Practice6. The Heart of Harriet Martineau: Symptoms, Subjectivity and Self-Fashioning7. Emotions and the Brain: Rethinking the Mind/Body RelationshipConclusion: The Matter of the Heart

Editorial Reviews

"Refreshingly novel" --Bill Bynum, The Lancet