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Exploring Emotional History: Gender, Mentality and Literature in the Indian Awakening

 
Rajat Kanta Ray (Author)
Synopsis "Do emotions have a history? Whose emotions does the writer, poet or diarist portray in an emotionally divided society? What are the theoretical problems confronting the historian of mentality? What ideological blinkers prevent the historian from being empathetic to the study of something as elusive as emotions and mentality? This book seeks to answer some of these questions. It examines emotional history, a relatively unexplored field of study in history. Emotional history lies at the intersection of psychoanalysis, psychohistory, intellectual history, literature, women’s studies, and gender studies. The author situates emotional history within the history of mentality. He explores the mentality of the Indian awakening and the emotional history of the Bengal renaissance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He traces the psychic tensions inherent in the transformation of the Indian village community under the twin impact of colonialism and modernity. He investigates the dominance of caste, community and gender, factors which restricted and controlled the sexual choices of men and women and shaped their experiences during this time of transition. These influences also resulted in the differentiated and unequal sexual structure which marks Indian society. At the same time, the notion of Western romanticism imparted a unique quality to the emotional history of Indian society in the modern age. This remarkable transformation in the history of emotions and mentality left its imprint on contemporary literature. Guiding the historian on this exploration into the emotional history of a past culture and society are the contemporary poet, novelist, private diarist, and personal correspondent. This book brings into focus the sexual formation of Indian society and demonstrates the relevance of this neglected concept to the study of gender history and emotional history. It will prove useful to scholars of modern Indian history, sociology, literature, and gender studies."
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About the author

Rajat Kanta Ray

Rajat Kanta Ray is a historian.  He has taught at the Presidency College of Kolkata for more than three decades.  At present, he is the Vice-Chancellor of Visca-Bharati.

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Bibliographic information

Title Exploring Emotional History: Gender, Mentality and Literature in the Indian Awakening
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195652924
length xiv+333p., 23cm.