Article ID: CBB001420015

“Picturesque Incisiveness”: Explaining the Celebrity of James's Theory of Emotion (2014)


William James is the name that comes to mind when asked about scientific explanations of emotion in the nineteenth century. However, strictly speaking James's theory of emotion does not explain emotions and never did. Indeed, James contemporaries pointed this out already more than a hundred years ago. Why could James' theory nevertheless become a landmark that psychologists, neuroscientists, and historians alike refer to today? The strong focus on James and Anglo-American sources in historiography has overshadowed all other answers given to the question of emotion at the time of James. For that reason, the article returns to the primary sources and places James's work back into the context of nineteenth century brain research in which it developed.

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Authors & Contributors
Wassmann, Claudia
McNally, Thomas
Plamper, Jan
Hewitt, Kim
Stoklosa, Anna
Ortega, Francisco
William James Studies
The Senses and Society
Science in Context
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Wallstein Verlag
Random House
Plural Publishing, Inc.
Oxford University Press
Manchester University Press
Emotions; passions
James, William
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Freud, Sigmund
Darwin, Charles Robert
Tomkins, Silvan Solomon
Kandel, Eric Richard
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
17th century
United States
Great Britain
Vienna (Austria)
National Institute on Drug Abuse

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